Publication Of Only Tajik Daily Newspaper Suspended

November 24, 2010
DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's only daily newspaper, "Imruz News" (News Today), has suspended publication less than three months after it was launched, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Rustam Joni, who is one of the paper's founders and CEO of the Oriem-Media group, said staff had been told to take a vacation until November 29 while the paper's prospects and future funding were assessed.
Joni said the primary reason for suspending publication was financial, and political factors did not play a role.
But some experts have noted that the paper was aggressive in its reporting on the military counterterror operation in the Rasht Valley and on Tajikistan's only toll road, which is believed to be controlled by people close to President Emomali Rahmon.
The first edition of "Imruz News" was published on August 30.
Media experts doubt the paper is struggling financially, as its editors claim to have secured a loan from Tajikistan's Orienbank, which is controlled by influential tycoon Hasan Asadullozoda, the president's brother-in-law.
The choice of Rajabi Mirzo as editor in chief of the new daily was a pleasant surprise for many newspaper readers in Tajikistan. Mirzo has a reputation as an experienced journalist and is an outspoken critic of the government and the president.
Tajikistan's postal service lacks funds, transport, and personnel, so it often takes weeks for letters and publications to reach their destination.
As a result, newspapers have become a thing of the past for many Tajik villagers, while city dwellers increasingly turn to the Internet for news.
Copyright (c) 2010. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.