RFE/RL Tajik Service changes a man’s life and drives digital engagement despite being blocked in Tajikistan
RFE/RL Tajik Service reporting helped a Dushanbe resident regain his house after 13 years of fighting with unfair judges and red tape. The resident, Umarali Safarov, told RFE/RL on April 19, as part of a video report in which he showed his letters spread out on the carpet, that “I’ve sent 300 letters to the President, asked 200 times for help from the Parliament, spoke to the Ombudsman 28 times, but could not get justice. Now I’m on a list to talk with President Emomali Rahmon and his son, Dushanbe mayor Rustam Emomali.” After the report was published and received significant attention on the Service’s website and across social media, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court on May 8 ended the 13 year long saga, ruling in favor of Safarov. After the trial, Safarov thanked the Tajik Service for making a positive impact in his life.
The Tajik Service’s website has been completely blocked within Tajikistan since May 7, following an extended period of being partially inaccessible. In response to the blockage, the Service increased content production for YouTube and other social media, launched Telegram and YandexZen accounts, and reactivated its newsletter. During the week of May 5-11, the Service’s YouTube channel registered a 20 percent increase in YouTube views over the previous week, registering some 3.8 million views and now has more than 690,000 subscribers. This comes at a time when Tajikistan seeks to further crack down on independent YouTube bloggers in the country; the Service on May 11 reported on efforts to license and tax video bloggers who use the platform.