Over the past several years DW Akademie has held numerous workshops in Tajikistan. DW Akademie Director Gerda Meuer met with former participants in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.
The head of DW Akademie's Europe and Central Asia division, Mathis Winkler, had invited more than 20 alumni members from partner stations to attend the conference. The members all expressed a similar wish: to have more training opportunities. At the top of their list were technical and management workshops as well as support in establishing children's programs. Many station representatives were also interested in having in-house consultations.
"There is no press freedom in Tajikistan," says Gerda Meuer. "Many alumni members confirmed this in our conversations. Those who dare to report critically on issues risk losing their job or their station’s broadcasting license." As a result, self-censorship is widely spread. State authorities recently threatened a DW Akademie partner with libel action for having critically reported on abuses in a Tajik prison. They later dropped the accusation because of international pressure.
DW Akademie has built a strong network in the country due to its longstanding work there, and this was clear in the talks Gerda Meuer had with representatives from the OSCE, the German Embassy and t he European Union.
The country director for GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) signalled support for the planned posting of an expert on media development. Working in cooperation with the Russian-Tajik Slavoinic University in Dushanbe, the expert is to develop a practice-oriented training program for up-and-coming journalists. "Tajikistan is a young country. That's why training opportunities, including media training, are essential for the country's further development," says Winkler.