DUSHANBE, December 22 (RIA Novosti) – Over 130 websites have been blocked in connection with “technical repair work,” Tajikistan’s telecoms agency claims in a letter to RIA Novosti.
The letter is dated December 20, was signed by the deputy head of the Telecommunications Agency, and was received late Friday night. Many of the sites listed were inaccessible within Tajikistan as of Saturday morning.
Most of the sites targeted host music and video content, such as topvideo.tj – dubbed Tajikistan’s answer to YouTube. Popular social networking services Vkontakte, which is similar to Facebook, and Odnoklassniki, which is similar to Friends Reunited, were also on the list.
Access to sites popular with Tajik bloggers, and some publishing pro-opposition content, or run by Tajiks abroad was also blocked.
In Late November, Beg Zukhurov, the head of the country’s communications agency, issued the instruction that internet providers and mobile operators in the country block access to Facebook, “because of slander of the government of the country and its leaders.”
This prompted concern among the international community, including the OSCE and the EU. On December 4, access to Facebook was restored.
Currently over 30 sites are blocked in Tajikistan, including the news-sites: vesti.ru, gazeta.ru, ria.ru, and centrasia.ru.