VIENNA, 7 March 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, appealed to the Government of Tajikistan today to reverse instructions to block the Facebook social media platform and four websites reporting on social and political affairs.
Internet service providers in Tajikistan say that on 2 March they received instructions by the Communications Service government agency to block access to Facebook and four news websites, tjknews.com, maxala.org, centrasia.ru and zvezda.ru (Polyarnaya Zvezda online portal).
“Despite occasional blocking of certain websites in Tajikistan, Internet has remained largely free,” Mijatović said. “This is the first time access to social media has been denied and I hope that this worrying development will not create a precedent.”
“As I pointed out in my letter to Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi on 5 March, Internet should remain an open public forum for discussion and free expression of opinions, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this letter I also expressed hope that access to Facebook and the four news websites would be restored without delay,” Mijatović said.