A U.S. congressional group of lawmakers devoted to press freedom has expressed concern in a letter to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon over what they say are constant harassment and threats to journalists of the Tajik service of RFE/RL.
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.
The lawmakers specifically mentioned nine cases when Radio Ozodi journalists and support staff hadn’t received accreditation, actions they fear are being used “to restrict and attempt to influence Radio Ozodi’s independent journalism.”
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.”