DUSHANBE, September 25, Asia-Plus - A five-day training seminar on international standards of freedom of speech for media lawyers, journalists and representatives from human right NGOs was launched in Dushanbe on September 25.    

According to the Tajik Branch of Open Society Institute/Assistance Foundation (OSI/AF), this seminar is the first stage of the implementation of the “Mass Media” Program sponsored by them.  

A source in the OSI/AF Tajik Branch said, “During five days the seminar participants will a take an intensive training course on defending and promoting freedom of expression and freedom of information.”  Representatives from ARTICLE 19, the UK-based international human right organization, are conducting the seminar.  

The seminar consists of several sessions, including coverage of freedom of speech on human rights issues, international and regional mechanisms of protection of freedom of speech and Tajikistan’s obligations in this sphere.   

Two lawyers from neighboring Afghanistan are also participating in the seminar’s work that will give the seminar participants an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the freedom of speech situation and its legal foundation in this country.  

The separate session will be devoted to the freedom of speech situation in the Russian Federation.  

A roundtable meeting on the issues related to working out strategy of the implementation of freedom of speech in Tajikistan will he held in Dushanbe on September 30.  

ARTICLE 19 is an international human rights organization, which defends and promotes freedom of expression and freedom of information all over the world.   It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.