Dushanbe, February 28, Asia-Plus - Suhrob Sharipov, Director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the President of Tajikistan, has called assessment given by Freedom House to Tajikistan ’s freedom status “unfair” and “prejudiced”. 

The U.S.-based human rights monitor has rated Tajikistan in its annual report as “not free”.  

Commenting on this subject Mr. Sharipov noted that notion of “freedom” was the relative one.  “Of course, we cannot claim that Tajikistan is a pattern of free state ,” said Suhrob Sharipov, “The country’s leadership has also admitted that we are just moving towards democracy.”  On the other hand, if the criterion of freedom is anarchy, “ Tajikistan , of course, is not free state .”  “It is to be remembered that the main reason for rating our country’s freedom status as “not free” is the fact that Freedom House was not registered in our country,” Mr. Sharipov said.  

Tajik independent expert Jovid Muqim has seconded Suhrob Sharipov, noting that it is not clear “on what criteria this assessment is based.”  

In its annual report, Freedom House has raised freedom status of Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan from “not free” to “partly free”, while Russia ’s freedom status has been lowered from “partly free” to “not free”.  Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have also been rated as “not free”.  

According to Mr. Muqim, it is just an opinion of view  of one organization.  “With the same result, any organization in Tajikistan may rate the United States as not free state but will not be an official position of our state,” he said.  “If this assessment concerns state of media, it is wrong,” said Mr. Muqim, “Indeed, it is impossible to compare Tajikistan to the United States but it is also wrong to put Tajikistan in one rank with Uzbekistan .”