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Asia Plus Kicked Offline

Wednesday 11 September 2019

WASHINGTON (CPJ) — Websites and email addresses belonging to embattled independent news agency Asia Plus in Tajikistan have been down since August 19, according to the agency and Radio Ozodi, the Tajik-language service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Dushanbe-based media group Asia Plus reported via a mirror site on September 2 that its main websites and business emails stopped working completely on August 19. Prior to the outage, Asia Plus was already blocked in Tajikistan, according to the regional news website Eurasianet, though still accessible overseas and via virtual private network (VPN). Satrapia visits to both websites from Paris, since 1st produced error messages.

The Asia Plus and Radio Ozodi reports said the domain name records for two websites, news.tj and asiaplus.tj, had been deliberately mis-configured to disrupt access. While this could potentially result from an error or cyber attack, the national domain registry has yet to investigate complaints from Asia Plus and Eastera, the private hosting provider that manages the domains, according to Radio Ozodi. The .tj domain is administered by the Information Technology Centre under the president’s administration, according to the registry’s website.

Asia Plus, which the regional Ferghana news agency has described as one of Tajikistan’s largest independent news agencies, covers political, social, and economic issues. Eurasianet reported in November 2018 that Asia Plus had joined Tajikistan’s growing list of blocked news websites after it published an article on tax exemptions for construction companies linked to the president and his family. The agency continues to publish via a mirror site, Facebook page, andTelegram channel.


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