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Tajikistan Revokes Accreditation of Radio Journalists

FILE - President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan speaks at the United Nations headquarters, Sept. 27, 2015. Tajikistan revoked the accreditation of six radio journalists after it was reported that Rahmon's daughter had been appointed to a senior government position.

Tajikistan has revoked the accreditation of six radio journalists working for the U.S.-government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

The suspension came after RFE/RL refused to remove from its website a report on the appointment of the Tajik president's daughter to a senior Foreign Ministry position.

RFE/RL's Tajik service, locally known as Radio Ozodi, had reported that President Emomali Rahmon's daughter, Rukhshona Rahmonova, had been appointed as a deputy head of a department of the Foreign Ministry, based on confirmation from a ministry official and the ministry's website. Similar reports appeared in local and regional media outlets.

The ministry on Friday gave RFE/RL five minutes to remove the story, saying otherwise the Dushanbe-based correspondents would lose their accreditation. RFE/RL said none of the six journalists worked on the report that displeased the ministry. The ministry has provided no official explanation for its actions.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday demanded the Tajik authorities reinstate the accreditations immediately. RFE/RL said on its website, "We are outraged by this action by the Tajik government, which is a blatant attack on our ability to do our jobs as journalists."

The watchdog organization Freedom House has designated Tajikistan as "not free," with a score of 83 out of 100 in its 2016 Freedom of the Press index, and Reporters Without Borders ranks Tajikistan 150th out of 180 countries in its 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

Tajikistan has blocked RFE/RL's website in the country since September of last year.