DUSHANBE, February 11, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Debt burden forces the editorial board of the Farazh weekly to think about selling of the publication, Farazh editor-in-chief Khurshed Niyozov noted at the republican media forum in Dushanbe on February 11.

According to him, a three-month interruption of publication of the weekly in the fall of 2010 has led to the sharp decline in circulation of the newspaper – from 8,300 to 5,700 copies.  Besides, rise in paper prices and rental fee has led to large debts.

“Our debt now amounts to 55,000 somoni and our applications to various organizations for help have not been supported,” Niyozov said.         

Farazh that was unable to print for several weeks reappeared on newsstands on November 17, 2010 as a private printing house agreed to publish the newspaper.

The forum participants noted that Tajik newspapers and websites that were suspended for several weeks last autumn were currently seeking money to repay the accumulated debts.

We will recall that a number of independent weeklies, including Farazh , Paykon and Nigoh , were not able to print for several weeks last autumn.

Besides, Tajik Defense Minister Sherali Khairulloyev in early October accused independent newspapers of sympathizing with the militants who ambushed an army convoy in late August.  In an official statement issued on October 4, Khairulloyev accused the media of "biased and one-sided" coverage of the August 19 attack in Rasht, in which at least 25 Tajik conscripts were killed.  He called for legal action to be taken.

In addition to this, Tajik Internet service providers blocked the IP addresses of several websites last October for two weeks, following an order from the Tajik Ministry of Transport and Communications.  As a result, the websites could only be accessed by proxy servers.