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DUSHANBE, March 5 (Itar-Tass) — The biggest and oldest internet service provider in Tajikistan, Tajiktelecom Technology, has blocked early on Monday access to the social networking website Facebook and some other popular opposition websites, including Centrasia, Tjknews.com, Svezda.ru, a Tajiktelecom staffer told Tass referring to “an instruction from the authorities”.
“We received an instruction ‘from above’ and we cannot resist the authorities,” he admitted. All attempts to get official comments from head of the Communication Service Bek Zukhurov have failed. However, his aide who refused to be identified, said laconically by telephone that “the decision was made at the request of the population that had flooded the ministry leadership with numerous complains about distorted and unverified internet information.
At the present moment several other internet service providers have restricted access to websites. This is not the first attempt of the Tajik authorities to block access to opposition web resources. At the height of an anti-terrorist operation in Tajikistan’s Pamir region in the autumn of 2010, four information resources were closed whose stance on the developments differed from that of the authorities. Later, they were reopened for Internet users under the pressure of independent media outlets and international organizations.
Last year, Facebook doubled the number of its users in the republic to 26,000 people. Several popular groups were opened on Facebook, which actively discussed activities of the government and the president, and some of the users openly called for a revolution on the Arab scenario.