The combination of a stagnating economy and escalating repression is prompting a growing number of people to leave Tajikistan.
In a distressing trend for freedom of expression, the latest group to join the exodus is journalists. Several reporters spoke to EurasiaNet.org to share their motivations for making the move, but asked to remain anonymous in the interests of personal safety. They have been given pseudonymous names in this article.
There are no certain numbers about how many media professionals have left Tajikistan over the past year, but the figure is believed to be as much as several dozen.
Tajikistan dropped 34 places, to 150th out of 180 countries, in Reporters Without Borders’ latest edition of the World Press Freedom Index. But the worsening situation goes back several years.
As long ago as 2010, the founders of Asia-Plus website and newspaper, Umed Bababanov, and the Ozodagon website, Zafar Sufi, left the country. Sufi initially returned to Tajikistan occasionally for visits, but he now sticks to running his website from abroad.
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