Since the rise of the Arab Spring, ex-Soviet countries in the Central Asian region, like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have been imposing Internet restrictions. The leaders of those republics recognize the role that social media had in overthrowing existing regimes in countries, like Egypt and Libya. Following the trend, the government of Takijistan has ordered a shutdown of Facebook and two Russian news sites, which carried an article criticizing of the current regime. Local Internet providers who requested anonymity said that the shutdown was ordered by state run communications service. Users who tried to access the three sites were redirected to the homepages of their Internet service providers. The Russian news sites that were shut down were tjknews.com and zvezda.ru. The latter site is based in Russia and ran an article entitled, “Tajikistan on the eve of a revolution”. The former site tjknews.com, which is also a local site, republished the article.
Facebook down in Tajikistan
The article that started the shutdowns was a critical piece on the long running President of Tajikistan, Imomali Rakhmon. The President has ruled Tunisia for two decades. Though the media in Tajikistan has been allowed to operate without too much restriction, there have been journalists who have been detained in recent months. Tajikistan has 7.5 million people and 26,000 of those people are on Facebook. Although that seems like a small percentage of the population, that number is a result of the Facebooking population doubling, in the past year.
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