DUSHANBE, May 3, Asia-Plus -- Achievements and prospects of freedom of press in Tajikistan were discussed at a roundtable meeting dedicated to a World Press Freedom Day that was held at the Tajik Center for Strategic Studies in Dushanbe on May 3.    

U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Richard Hoagland telling the meeting stressed that during presidential elections Tajikistan would have an opportunity to show its citizens and the whole international community its adherence to international norms of freedom of media, and equal and fair access for all presidential candidates to media was a priority of elections meeting international standards.    

According to him, Tajikistan has taken important steps towards democracy and at present time has come for Government to help President Rahmonov achieve establishment of real democracy in Tajikistan, free, pluralistic and independent media.  

There should be not only media that please authorities but also those whom authorities do not like and it is an important component of really democratic society, Ambassador Hoagland noted.   

“Many journalists hold that the Eighties of the last century were the Golden Age of independent media of Tajikistan and time has come for the second Golden Age,” Mr. Hoagland concluded.  

The roundtable meeting was staged by the Institute of War and Peace Research (IWPR), National Association of Independent Media of Tajikistan (Nansmit) and the Internews Network office in Tajikistan.  The meeting participants include representatives from state-run and independent print and electronic media of the country.   

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed World Press Freedom Day in 1993. Since then, it has been celebrated each year on May 3, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek.  The document calls for free, independent, pluralistic media worldwide characterizing free press as essential to democracy and a fundamental human right.