DUSHANBE, November 27 (RIA Novosti) – The authorities in Tajikistan blocked access to Facebook after criticism of the Central Asian country’s leadership began spreading on the popular social networking site, the head of the Tajik communications service said on Tuesday.
According to Beg Zukhurov, Facebook users were spreading "mud and slander" about top government officials, including President Emomali Rakhmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992 and will run for a new term next year.
“These people are obviously paid well for this,” Zukhurov said, adding that he had received many requests from “indignant Tajik citizens asking that this hotbed of slander be blocked.”
All three internet providers and three mobile operators in Tajikistan on Monday blocked access to Facebook, which has more than 41,000 users in the country. Among them are the presidential press service, the foreign minister, the mayor of the country’s capital Dushanbe and other high-ranking officials.
This is the second time Tajik authorities have blocked the world’s largest social network. Access to Facebook was shut for several days in early March but later reopened.
In August, the Tajik communications service established a special group of observers monitoring Tajikistan-related online publications. The group is made up of volunteers, mainly teachers, students and retirees.