Access to official information remains a problem for journalists in Tajikistan, and this despite the fact that over the past two years there has been a positive trend to hold quarterly press conferences in all ministries and departments of the republic. An analysis of recent press conferences at the end of the year shows that in most cases, representatives of the press services mostly invite state-owned media or hold meetings with one or two journalists. In this situation, journalists are forced to claim infringement of their rights and seek protection in professional communities.
The order of the President of the Republic, Emomali Rakhmonov, dated March 4, 2005, implies not only holding quarterly press conferences, but also facilitating access to information sources in the daily activities of media representatives. “Unfortunately, many press services, citing the fact that every three months there are traditional meetings, limit access to official information. These are exactly the structures that are called upon to establish cooperation between government agencies and media representatives, in some cases, turn out to be a filtering link, as a result of which not all information reaches the population, which is a violation of citizens' rights to freedom of information, ”the chairman of the National Association of Independent Media says Tajikistan Nuriddin Karshiboev.
According to him, only in January, the monitoring service NANSMIT recorded 40 messages. “Of these, more than half concern the infringement of the rights of the media and journalists. Today we are faced with unequal access to information sources, which, in my opinion, is a bad trend. We are not in favor of quarterly all executive authorities holding press conferences just for the sake of a tick. Repeatedly, our colleagues from the new independent newspapers declared that they were not invited to these press conferences and even gave specific facts. Perhaps there are their wines. If they, without waiting for a special invitation, would come to the press conference and would not be allowed, it would be a clear violation of the rights of journalists. Then we could help them in terms of legal support, but, unfortunately, we are not seeing such activity from our press, ”added Karshiboev.
The National Association of Independent Media prepares monthly reports on the state of media freedom in the country, monitors the state of the media in the country, how journalists try to protect their rights and interests, and also monitors the socio-political situation that contributes to or hinders freedom of expression . The association already has experience working with government agencies, and this cooperation is yielding results.
- At the end of last year there was a case of infringement of the rights of a journalist by an employee of the banking structure. The Association issued a statement, then sent a letter to the chairman of the board of Amonatbank (Savings Bank) so that measures were taken against their employees. We received a response from the chairman of the board of this bank, Mr. Makhmadaminov, in which it was stated that the guilty employees of the infringement of the rights of the journalist suffered disciplinary punishments. There was another case when they threatened the journalist - Jamila Husseinova. She appealed to us for help, we contacted the internal affairs bodies and soon the threats stopped. The staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs really promptly responded. There was no corpus delicti on the part of officials, so at the moment the issue has been resolved in pretrial order, ”said Nuriddin Karshiboev.
Three years ago, NANSMIT began work on the creation of an independent trade union of journalists. “We studied this issue, and already then it was clear that there is a need for such a union. There were even opponents of this idea - the leaders of some media, officials, media officials. Because the union is the protection of labor rights. And we are witnessing that the rights of journalists in Tajikistan are very often violated.
One and a half thousand members of the Union of Journalists of Tajikistan have already realized that protecting their rights and professional interests is better together. In June 2006, at the 10th extraordinary congress, it was decided to change the leadership; the new team was given the task of quickly reanimation of the organization’s life. First of all, it was necessary to re-register the members of the Union in order to determine the qualitative and quantitative composition of the organization. The next step is the legal protection of journalists.
“Our journalists are not insured against pressure, the probability of infringement of professional rights is high. Therefore, a legal aid center has been established at the Union of Journalists. It employs experienced lawyers. Journalists can get advice in a timely manner. So far, no serious precedent information has been received. If something like this happens, the Union will direct all its forces and influence, its collective authority, to protect the rights of journalists, ”said Pulod Nurov, executive secretary of the Union of Journalists of the country.
Currently, the Union of Journalists in all regions of the republic conducts scientific and practical seminars, which discuss legal aspects of the activities of journalists and international standards and norms in the field of media. The organization plans to publish a monthly newsletter "Legislation and Practice of the Media of Tajikistan". Of course, this publication will be an aid for journalists of the republic, especially for students who only learn the basics of the profession. According to the head of the Department of History and Theory of Journalism of the Russian-Tajik Slavic University (RTSU), Professor Abdusattor Nuraliev, several training courses related to international and republican legislation are included in the curriculum of the RTSU journalism department.
“My task is to ensure that students can not only know the laws, but can use these laws. To begin with, they should be well versed in what human rights are and how to protect these rights, ”Nuraliyev said.
According to the senior lecturer of the department “Fundamentals of creative activity” of the RTSU Abbos Afsakhzoda, students of the university receive a fairly good legal education. He says that for 10 years now the university has been engaged in personnel training, and there has not yet been a single case that a graduate of the RTSU came under the pressure of legal structures due to ignorance of their rights and powers.
Today in Tajikistan there are eight laws relating to the activities of the media. Perhaps it would be advisable to combine all aspects of these laws and develop one media code. At the beginning of last year, a draft law “On the Protection of Professional Rights of Journalists” was prepared, but it was rejected by deputies, and even six months later, the deputies did not return to it. It is clear to everyone that the legal framework for media activities requires perfection. Today we have to think about the mechanism of responsibility for obstructing access to sources of information, perhaps it is necessary to adopt a law of the same name.
In Kyrgyzstan, it is generally accepted that there is real freedom of speech in the country. Not only journalists themselves boast of this fact, but also politicians and human rights activists. In Kyrgyzstan, they love, draws a parallel with neighboring countries to show a high level of freedom of speech. Just as in Russia they like to compare the level of freedom of speech with the number of registered media. As of today, according to the Ministry of Justice, in 2005 over 900 print and electronic media were registered in the country. Lead among them - printed. In the post-revolutionary period, there is a boom in the Kyrgyz-language media, not only in the capital, but also in the regions.
But the number of publications is not an indicator of their high level of development and freedom of speech in the country. The country's civil society linked many hopes for the development of freedom of speech with the "Tulip Revolution." First of all, it concerned the liquidation of state-run media, the creation of public television on the basis of the existing state television (GTRK), the promotion of independent media, the repeal or amendment of legislative acts that at least infringe upon the rights of journalists. In particular, this concerned the decriminalization of the article on libel. Unfortunately, the current situation is such that none of the promises of the new government has been implemented. She limited herself to declarative statements only.
Most of the problems around the creation of public television. The ruling authority in the person of Secretary of State Adakham Madumarov frankly stated that there could be no question of creating any public television on the basis of GTRK. Formally, the creation of a public television has a presidential decree. But, it dealt with its creation on the basis of the Osh regional television. That immediately met with sharp opposition from civil society and the journalistic fraternity of the country.
Why did it happen so? The government is simply confident that due to the creation of public television in the country, it will lose control over the air. By the way, GTRK is the only TV company whose signals can receive throughout the country, even considering all the problems associated with the availability of a television signal. Opposition, raising this problem, is more concerned about the political control over television broadcast. She is more concerned with the content of news releases, political and analytical programs than the development of the entire television.
The leader of the authoritative public organization “Journalists” Kuban Mambetaliev, answering the question about public television, said the following: “The Estonian variant of public television is most acceptable for Kyrgyzstan: financing through the state budget, the parliament will control the channel with the assistance of the Supervisory Board, whose members will be proportionally appointed President, Parliament and the civil sector. " In our case, representatives of the GTRK require that representatives of the GTRK also join the Supervisory Board, that is, it turns out when they control themselves.
He spoke more sharply about the creation of public television on the basis of the regional television studio, the deputy and media tycoon Melis Eshimkanov, calling the presidential decree on this "a parody of public television."
According to Elvira Sarieva, an expert on media issues, representatives of the civilian sector demanded to reform the GTRK into public television and radio, however, the executive branch decided to choose the strategy of misleading the population of Kyrgyzstan by creating another state channel, ElTR, which cannot be considered public the presence of a monopoly of the state broadcaster GTRK.
In this regard, Internews-Kyrgyzstan made a special statement: “During the election campaign, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev made a promise to reform the state television channel (GTRK) into Public Television and Radio. However, the President decided not to sign the draft law “On the National Broadcasting Corporation” and not to fulfill his promise. Thus, the monopoly of GTRK in the field of broadcasting will further delay the development of the media sector in our country, and the first button will be with the executive, despite all the promises to voters. ” Go and now there.
Formally, the head of state, refusing to sign this law, referred to the fact that it was necessary to reform a number of existing legislative acts regulating the activities of the media, and all this would attract the need to allocate additional funds from the state budget. Therefore, at present, state-run media continue to exist in Kyrgyzstan “successfully”. Despite the fact that representatives of the civilian sector are demanding the elimination of all state-owned media, without exception, and let them go free. In 2005, the ruling power, speaking of reforming state-owned media, limited itself to the creation of public television on the basis of a regional television studio, practically burying the idea, and letting only regional newspapers go free. The decree did not say anything about city and district newspapers.
“In Kyrgyzstan, it is necessary to eliminate all state-owned mass media, leaving only private ones. State media distort many facts, as well as the processes occurring in the public and political life of the country, introducing readers and viewers astray, ”said Shamaral Maychiev, a member of the National Council for Combating Corruption. In addition, according to the information agency "24", a bill is currently being prepared prohibiting state bodies from filing lawsuits against journalists for moral damages. “If the court decides in favor of the claimant, then payments to the editorial board for moral harm to one or another official can bankrupt the media. But if the decision is made in favor of the publication, then such payments will not affect, for example, the work of various departments, ”notes Shamaral Maychiev.
MP Kabai Karabekov, a journalist himself in a recent past, supports the opinion of a member of the National Council for Combating Corruption: “We reason on the previous principle: whether the government needs a newspaper or does not need it. And it should be needed by society. If it is in demand in the market, then it will live. If not claimed, we do not have the moral and legal right to keep state newspapers for taxpayers' money. ” Speaking about the legislative acts regulating the activities of the media in Kyrgyzstan, MP Karabekov said: “The only thing we did not succeed in was removing the Criminal Code, these are articles for defamation and imposing a 5% fee on claims for the protection of honor and dignity in the Law on State Duty” .
Commenting on the current situation in the mass media of Kyrgyzstan, the Internet publication Belyi Parokhod, Adakham Madumarov, said a curious thing: “Now the media is completely irresponsible, because no one is pursued for political considerations. I would call it a process of emancipation. ” It is not clear that “complete irresponsibility” is bad or good from the point of view of the Secretary of State?