The Foreign Ministry of Tajikistan has approved accreditation of seven journalists of Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, locally known as Radio Ozodi.

Head of Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service Salim Ayubzod noted this on his Facebook page.  

Ayubzod noted in conversation with Asia-Plus that the Foreign Ministry had approved accreditation of video-journalists Amriddin Olimov and Tahmina Hakimova, web-editors Muhammadvafo Rahmatov and Nargis Hamrabayeva, cameramen of the Current Time TV Project Nasim Isamov and Anoushervon Aripov, and lead correspondent Alisher Zaripov.  

“The Foreign Ministry is currently considering applications for accreditation of Mirzonabi Kholiqzod, Shodmon Yatim, Barot Yusufi and other reporters,” Ayubzod said.  

Recall, nine reporters and support staff for Radio Ozodi have been prevented from working for ix months because they have not been credentialed by the Foreign Ministry. 

On August 27, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President Jamie Fly met here with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin to discuss the accreditation issue. 

Fly was in Dushanbe as part of a regional visit to Central Asia to meet with RFE/RL local reporters and staff at its bureaus in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Speaking to Current Time TV after the meeting, Fly said that he called on the minister and his governmental colleagues “to engage us and our bureau more constructively in the future,” urging him repeatedly to grant accreditation to the organization’s journalists so they can do their jobs.

A U.S. congressional group of lawmakers devoted to press freedom expressed concern in a letter to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon over what they say are constant harassment and threats to journalists of Radio Ozodi. 

Dated October 9, the letter was authored by Adam Schiff (Democrat-California) and Steve Chabot (Republican-Ohio), co-chairmen of the Congressional Press Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.

They said ongoing government restrictions, including accreditation denials, on local Radio Ozodi journalists impede the service's ability “to provide accurate and independent news,” information that Tajikistan's “own national media monitors ranked” as the leading website in the country.

Schiff and Chabot said that, if “ongoing harassment of Radio Ozodi and its staff” continues, it could cause “damage the U.S.-Tajik relationship and [do damage] to Tajikistan's reputation.”

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus.  It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.