As Tajikistan adopts ethical guidelines for the users of internet services and personal electronic devices, netizens fear that he authorities might use the document to control free expression.
Category Archives: Internet
Things are getting interesting in Tajikistan as its IT experts and government officials make innovative yet naive attempts to reign in political discussion on the internet. In the past, the authorities simply blocked websites they found threatening (which included Facebook and YouTube). Now, they have adopted an “Ethics Code for an e-Citizen”, partly to prevent increasingly tech-savvy Tajikistani netizens from posting “bad” content or denounce those who do so.
The document was adopted [ru] in Dushanbe, on October 11. According to a handful of media reports, it was put together by a “group of experts” from the Tajik president’s office, state-run telecommunications agency (whose director summoned Mark Zuckerberg to a meeting last year), association of national internet service providers, association of national mobile service providers, a group representing independent mass media (well, actually only some of them), and a couple of NGOs. Apparently, Internews, Open Society Institute (OSI) Assistance Foundation Tajikistan, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) supported (and probably financed) the development of the ethics code. Although these organizations are certainly aware of the proper way of developing such documents, the public was not involved in any meaningful way in producing or discussing the ethics code. (To be fare, about 15 days before the approval of the document, one of the NGOs involved in developing the ethics code published [ru] a draft on its website (which does not have too many visitors) and requested feedback).
Radio Ozodi (Tajik service of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), one of the few media that took an interest in the document, reports [tj] that the ethics code aims at “preventing harassment, offense, slander, provocation, dissemination of immoral images and recordings, agitation and propaganda of terrorism, and other unacceptable activities in virtual space”. Continue reading