Tajik authorities may institute criminal proceedings against Russian journalist

04/08/2016 14:36
Asia-Plus
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DUSHANBE, August 4, 2016, Asia-Plus – Tajik authorities may institute criminal proceedings against Russian journalist Sergey Ponomaryov, correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda, a daily Russian tabloid newspaper.

Tajik chief prosecutor Yusuf Rahmon told reporters in Dushanbe today that the article by Sergey Ponomaryov that was posted on Komsomolskaya Pravda’s website on July 16 has been sent for examination.

“If any signs of inciting national enmity are revealed in the article, criminal proceedings have been instituted against the journalist,” the prosecutor said.   

We will recall that the article entitled “Tajikistan: from the Soviet Destitution to the Bright Future” that was posted on the newspaper’s website on July 16 tells about trip of Russian journalist Sergey Ponomaryov to Tajikistan.

Reprinting of the Tajik edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda has been suspended following publication of the article that officials say cast aspersions on the country.

Sharif Hamdampour, who is in charge editor of the of the Tajik edition of the tabloid, told a press conference in Dushanbe on July 21 that “the decision reflects our protest to a recent article by [Komsomolskaya Pravda] correspondent Sergei Ponomaryov.”

Ponomaryov’s article has described Tajikistan as a country of “Ravshans and Jamshuds,” fictional characters of Tajik migrant workers in a popular Russian comedy show, Hamdampour said.

Describing a trip on a Tajik domestic flight, Ponomaryov wrote that he “was the only Slavic face shining” among the passengers who were “all Ravshans and Jamshuds.”

“When I read the article I understood that it respected neither journalistic nor professional ethical standards. In the article there are statements that insult Tajiks and the country as a whole,” Hamdampour said on July 21.

He noted he appealed in vain with the tabloid’s top management to have the article spiked.  “Within two days, I took the decision to halt the activities of this newspaper in Tajikistan,” Hamdampour said.

The Tajik edition of the newspaper -- published weekly with a circulation of 5,000 -- has been popular among Russian-speakers in the capital, Dushanbe, and other Tajik cities.

Komsomolskaya Pravda has been published in Tajikistan since 2006 on the basis of bilateral agreements.

Founded on March 13, 1925, Komsomolskaya Pravda (Komsomol Truth) is a daily Russian tabloid newspaper.

During the Soviet era, Komsomolskaya Pravda was the All-Union newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Komsomol.  It was established according to the decision of the 13th Congress of the Russian Communist Party and the first issue was published on May 24, 1925, in an edition of 31,000 copies.

Amidst the collapse of the Soviet Union, on December 1, 1990 the paper shifted from serving as a Komsomol mouthpiece to a Russian nationwide daily tabloid newspaper.

Komsomolskaya Pravda reached its highest circulation in 1990 when it sold almost 22 million daily copies.  In 2001 it was the ninth top European newspaper with a circulation of 785,000 copies.  It was the top-selling newspaper in Russia in 2006 with daily circulation ranging from 700,000 to 3.1 million copies.

Its March 2008 circulation certified by the NCS was 660,000 copies and it was the most read paper in the country based on the findings by the TNS Gallup Media.  The same year online version of the paper was also the most visited news website. 

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