Paris-based media rights watchdog notes that the press freedom situation has deteriorated in Tajikistan. 

The annual list, issued on by international NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Thursday evaluates the state of journalism in 180 countries and territories.

The 2019 World Press Freedom Index ranks Tajikistan 161st between Uzbekistan (160th) and Libya (162nd).

Tajikistan fell twelve places in the World Press Freedom Index over the past year.

According to the report, the government pressure compounded by an economic crisis has resulted in the closure of most independent media outlets in the country, a great deal of self-censorship, and the departure of dozens of journalists into self-imposed exile.

The authorities reportedly continue to reinforce their control of communications, while the blocking of the main news websites and social networks is now virtually permanent.  2018 was marked by former journalist Khayrullo Mirsaidov's detention for eight months, the closure of the newspapers Ozodagon and Payk, and intermittent spikes in Internet censorship. 

As far as other Central Asia’s nations are concerned, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan are ranked 83rd and 158th respectively.          

Turkmenistan once again comes bottom of the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index.

Norway (1st), Finland (2nd) and Sweden (3rd) are at the top of the list and Eretria (178th), North Korea (179th) and Turkmenistan (180th) are at the bottom of the list. 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Paris that conducts political advocacy on issues relating to freedom of information and freedom of the press.  It has two primary spheres of activity: one is focused on Internet censorship and the new media, and the other on providing material, financial and psychological assistance to journalists assigned to dangerous areas.  Its missions are to continuously monitor attacks on freedom of information worldwide, denounce any such attacks in the media, act in cooperation with governments to fight censorship and laws aimed at restricting freedom of information, morally and financially assist persecuted journalists, as well as their families and offer material assistance to war correspondents in order to enhance their safety.