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Following Government Orders, Tajikistan's Telecoms Have Blocked Facebook

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, November 27 2012

Facebook is now totally blocked in Tajikistan. Starting from last week, the Ministry of Communications ordered the country's six mobile service providers and six Internet service providers to block access to the wildly popular social media platform.

The former Soviet Republic has approximately 41,000 Facebook users, which is less than 6 percent of local Internet users. Given this low number, the minister of communications' claim that he had blocked the platform because it was a "hotbed of slander" sounds, as the Washington Post puts it, "bizarre."

The government, which has a poor human rights record, took the first steps toward Internet censorship in June. As reported by techPresident, the government created "a volunteer-run body that would monitor the Internet for citizens who criticize President Imomali Rakhmon."

Shortly after the "volunteer-run body" started operating, an 18 year-old boy was arrested and interrogated for posting criticism of the president on his Facebook page.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.