Index 2024
155/ 180
Score : 33.31
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
153/ 180
Score : 39.06
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

The repressive drift of President Emomali Rakhmon, described as “founder of national peace and unity, and leader of the nation”, continues to worsen. More and more journalists choose exile, and those who decide to stay resort to self-censorship.

Media landscape

Government pressure has forced many independent media outlets to shut down, including the newspaper Ozodagon and the news site Akhbor, and has driven dozens of journalists into exile. Only one-third of the population has Internet access. The quasi-permanent blocking of major news sites and social media has pushed many Tajik media outlets to relocate abroad. Foreign journalists work under threat of their accreditation being cancelled, if it is not rejected in the first place.

Political context

The government closely monitors content broadcast on the radio, television and the Internet, and access to official information is extremely limited for independent media. Journalists who do not resort to self-censorship are harassed by the intelligence services and are targets of intimidation and blackmail. Some are officially categorised as “terrorists”. Any reporting on the brutally suppressed protests in Gorno-Badakhshan (GBAO), an autonomous region covering nearly half the country, is prohibited and can lead to censorship and arrest. The government has set up troll farms designed to discredit any critical commentary.

Legal framework

The Tajik authorities misuse legal provisions to punish incitement to hatred, discord or the dissemination of false information. These laws, which directly threaten journalists, create a climate of fear and prevent them from expressing any critical view of the regime.

Economic context

Many obstacles stand in the way of economic development of the media sector. These include legal and bureaucratic barriers, heavy taxes, an under-developed advertising market, and surprise inspections by regulatory authorities. Added to these are low salaries that push experienced journalists into other careers. Private media receive no public subsidies, although a provision of the press law explicitly allows this.

Sociocultural context

Journalists have no role to play in resolving the country’s social, economic and political problems, because the government does not respond to what they publish or answer their questions. It is hard for media to address certain issues, such as gay marriage and extra-marital affairs. After a border conflict developed with Kyrgyzstan in 2021, the Kyrgyz people were attacked and insulted in the media and online.


Reporters who criticise the government risk physical assault, intimidation, arrest and even imprisonment by the police and the intelligence services. Journalists find it virtually impossible to investigate issues that the government considers “sensitive” without exposing themselves, or their friends and family, to danger. In recent years, several journalists have received heavy sentences of up to ten years in prison.