U.S. urges Tajikistan to adopt transparent mechanism for journalists' accreditation

The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has voiced concern over the Tajik Foreign Ministry's refusal to grant accreditation to Radio Liberty Tajik service correspondent Abdukayum Kayumzod.

The Tajik ministry has so far been unavailable for comment.

The United States has been a long-time supporter of freedom of speech, media freedoms and the right of journalists to work without fear of censorship and reprisals, the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

The U.S. Embassy has regularly expressed its concerns to the Tajik government regarding the way journalists are treated in the country, including Kayumzod.

Last year, the Tajik authorities refused to prolong Kayumzod's accreditation, which all foreign correspondents need to receive to validate the legality of their work on Tajik territory. Other journalists of Radio Liberty's Tajik service have had no problems with their accreditation.

The U.S. Embassy urged the Tajik government to respect media freedoms and adopt a clear and transparent mechanism that would regulate journalists' accreditation. Radio Liberty, for its part, has dismissed the refusal to prolong its journalist's accreditation as an attempt to intervene in the policy of an independent radio station.

Access to the websites of Radio Liberty's Tajik service was blocked for several days at the end of last year and in early 2013, and was restored only after the U.S. Embassy publicly expressed concern. The Tajik authorities did not make any open statements in relation to Radio Liberty.

The next presidential election in Tajikistan has been set for November.

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