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In his paper called ‘Changing media and politics in Tajikistan’, Esfandiar examines whether the growing access to new communication technology has resulted any changes in people’s lives. He looks at how new media tools are filling the information gap caused by the lack of access to traditional media, such as TV, newspapers and radio stations; and how new ideas and concepts about democracy, human rights and freedom can reach the population through new media technology and whether these are able to make the government more accountable. In the course of his research he interviewed a number of intellectuals, journalists, politicians and government officials. He also interviewed a random sample of Facebook users from Tajikistan and abroad, including some of the vast number of Tajik labour migrants in Russia. He selects case studies related to mobiles and Facebook, because the former is the most widespread tool of communication in Tajikistan and the latter the most popular place where Tajiks converse with each other and discuss a variety of issues of relevance to their country. In one example he examines, the use of mobile phones to spread videos of torture victims did help to hold the authorities to account.

Numerous journalists have fallen foul of the law over the last year. Adil Soz has recorded 19 assaults on journalists and 17 criminal cases including 11 libel suits, one allegation of inciting social unrest and one of encouraging ethnic hate. Aside from criminal prosecutions, over 100 journalists faced civil libel suits. Adil Soz also counted 180 cases where access to websites, online forums and blogs was denied.
The media sector as a whole is becoming more biddable as a result of heavy state funding – almost 90 per cent of media outlets are recipients of public money to varying extents. That makes it easy to demand that they toe the line, killing competition, encouraging self-censorship and resulting in a situation where it is hard to tell commercial and state-run media content apart.

Numerous journalists have fallen foul of the law over the last year. Adil Soz has recorded 19 assaults on journalists and 17 criminal cases including 11 libel suits, one allegation of inciting social unrest and one of encouraging ethnic hate. Aside from criminal prosecutions, over 100 journalists faced civil libel suits. Adil Soz also counted 180 cases where access to websites, online forums and blogs was denied.
The media sector as a whole is becoming more biddable as a result of heavy state funding – almost 90 per cent of media outlets are recipients of public money to varying extents. That makes it easy to demand that they toe the line, killing competition, encouraging self-censorship and resulting in a situation where it is hard to tell commercial and state-run media content apart.