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“Hands Off Russian-Language Press” in Tajikistan

Written by Mahina Shodizoda On 4 March 2014 @ 21:54 pm | 1 Comment

In Central Asia & Caucasus, Citizen Media, English, Freedom of Speech, Language, Media & Journalism, Russian, Tajik, Tajikistan

Following a recent court ruling against an ethnic Russian journalist and a newspaper that published her material, some netizens in Tajikistan believe that the authorities are cracking down on Russian-language press.

On February 25, a Tajik judge found [1] Asia-Plus editor and columnist Olga Tutubalina guilty of “insulting” state-appointed intellectuals and ordered that she pay them about 6,000 US dollars in “moral damage”. The journalist “insulted” the intellectuals – as well as the country's Academy of Science and four creative unions – by criticizing the intelligentsia in service of the state and quoting Vladimir Lenin's characterization of docile intellectuals as “shit”. The judge also ruled that Asia-Plus, the most popular Russian-language weekly in Tajikistan, must apologize for publishing the “insulting” column.

A journalist tweeting under an alias ‘Bachai Sako’ wrote [ru]:

I am increasingly convinced that the ruling against Tutubalina is the beginning of a campaign against Russian press in Tajikistan.

It is time for all journalists to stand up and defend [Olga] Tutubalina and the Russian-language press!

Blog Russian Chronicles of Tajikistan argued [4] [ru] that the ruling was “part of the campaign against independent Russian-language press”. In an earlier post, the blog claimed [5] [ru] that the authorities were trying to accelerate the “inevitable” process of “de-Russification” of Tajikistan by destroying media catering to Russian speakers. The post ends with the blogger calling on all “Russian-speaking citizens and representatives of Russian-language media” to defend the independent press by confronting the “most ardent nationalists” in the government of Tajikistan.

"Hands off Russian-language press! Eat your 'pitzo' silently! [The last sentence refers to a recent effort on part of the authorities to ensure the "purity" of Tajik language and strengthen its role by cleansing it off "impurities" adopted from Russian]. Image posted by Russian Chronicles of Tajikistan, used with permission.

“Hands off Russian-language press! Eat your ‘pitzo’ silently! [The last sentence refers to a recent effort [6] on part of the authorities to ensure the "purity" of Tajik language and strengthen its role by cleansing it off "impurities" adopted from Russian]. Image posted by Russian Chronicles of Tajikistan, used with permission.

But some netizens do not agree with the view that Russian-language press is under threat. In fact, some believe that media in Russian are themselves a threat:

@BachaiSako [7] Calm down, nobody is messing with the Russians or Russian media in [Tajikistan]. Enjoy the fact that the publication of a newspaper in Russian is allowed at all.

@BachaiSako [7] I would have banned all media in languages other than the state [Tajik] language. If you want to read newspapers, learn Tajik. It is for your benefit.

@BachaiSako [7] They should all be closed. The presence of Russian-language media [in Tajikistan] is a serious threat.

@BachaiSako [7] If we don't close down Russian-language newspapers today, we will never make the Tajik language dominant.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/03/04/hands-off-russian-language-press-in-tajikistan/

URLs in this post:

[1] found: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/02/25/tajik-court-fines-journalist-for-calling-docile-intellectuals-shit/

[2] February 28, 2014: https://twitter.com/BachaiSako/statuses/439238942651478016

[3] February 28, 2014: https://twitter.com/BachaiSako/statuses/439239617091354624

[4] argued: http://russiantajikistan.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/%d1%80%d1%83%d0%ba%d0%b8-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%be%d1%87%d1%8c-%d0%be%d1%82-%d1%80%d1%83%d1%81%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d1%8f%d0%b7%d1%8b%d1%87%d0%bd%d0%be%d0%b9-%d0%bf%d1%80%d0%b5%d1%81%d1%81%d1%8b/

[5] claimed: http://russiantajikistan.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bc%d1%83-%d0%bc%d0%b5%d1%88%d0%b0%d1%8e%d1%82-%d0%b3%d0%b0%d0%b7%d0%b5%d1%82%d1%8b-%d0%bd%d0%b0-%d1%80%d1%83%d1%81%d1%81%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%bc-%d1%8f%d0%b7%d1%8b%d0%ba%d0%b5/

[6] effort: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/02/09/tajikistan-welcome-to-the-facebook-republic-of-pitzostan/

[7] @BachaiSako: https://twitter.com/BachaiSako

[8] March 4, 2014: https://twitter.com/tajikland/statuses/440918223387500544

[9] March 4, 2014: https://twitter.com/tajikland/statuses/440918487880318976

[10] March 4, 2014: https://twitter.com/mardikor/statuses/440959624280145920

[11] March 4, 2014: https://twitter.com/mardikor/statuses/440959957320474625

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