DUSHANBE, February 1, 2010, Asia-Plus  -- Cases when officials file lawsuits against media have become frequent in Tajikistan that can negatively impact the level of freedom of speech in the country, Shokijron Hakimov, lawyer also deputy leader of the Social-Democratic Party (SDPT), said in an interview the Asia-Plus.

“In countries, where the level of democracy is high, articles published in newspapers do not become the subject for trials,” Hakimov considers.

According to him, filing law suits against media, officials try to restrict activity of journalists in the country.  “In my opinion, such actions of authorities undermine Tajikistan’s prestige on international arena,” Hakimov said, noting that media cannot fulfill their role as long as the government has the power to designate critical “offensive” and criminally persecute journalists for their work.