Tajik authorities must respect journalists’ freedom of expression.

The US Ambassador to Tajikistan, Manuel Micaller, says this in his message of congratulations on the occasion of the Day of Press, which is marked in Tajikistan on March 11.

“Free, independent media allow the public to connect to information, make informed decisions, and hear a diversity of opinions.  An independent press is a key element of building democracy, in Tajikistan and around the world. 

“The United States actively supports the professional development of journalists in Tajikistan.  We do this through exchange programs, English classes, reporting tours, and technical support for media outlets.

“We will also continue to urge the government of Tajikistan to support the rights of journalists and to respect their freedom of expression,” Ambassador Manuel P. Micaller, Jr said in his message of congratulations posted on his Facebook page.  

Recall, several Tajik journalists, rights activists, and opposition politicians have been handed lengthy prison terms in recent years on charges seen by rights groups as trumped up and politically motivated.