VIENNA, 27 July 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, called on the government of Tajikistan today to unblock video sharing website YouTube and ensure the free flow and access to information.
On 26 July the Communications Service, a government agency, asked internet providers to block access to YouTube.
“YouTube has become one of the most important sources of diverse information all over the world. With full understanding for the security concerns of the authorities, free access to information and the free flow of information are vital at all times and should not be restricted or suppressed,” Mijatović said.
“Only courts should be allowed to decide whether websites can be blocked, not authorities. Blocking is a restriction on free media and, most importantly, deprives citizens of their right to know, to receive and impart information about the developments in their own country.”
She added: “Authorities have the obligation to ensure the free flow of information and unhindered functioning of the media. I also believe media should uphold the highest professional standards when carrying out their duties. In this regard I welcome the recent call on the media by several leading Tajik non-governmental organizations to cover events in the country in an objective and unbiased manner.”
Mijatovic said she was pleased to learn that the authorities have unblocked Asia-Plus, Tajikistan’s main independent news agency after blocking the site on 23 July.