Journalists in Tajikistan help citizens protect their rights
Tajik journalists improved their reporting on human rights issues thanks to a series of trainings organized by a local media association in cooperation with UNESCO.
Citizens' complaints to media regarding human rights violations increased in Tajikistan since September 2008, reported the Tajik Association of Independent Electronic Mass Media Organizations (TAIEMM). The poor provision of water, heating and electricity, as well as health issues became topics for TV and radio programmes as a result of a series of human rights trainings for Tajik electronic media.
Some 35 journalists from independent newspapers, TV and radio companies in Sogd and Khatlon regions, and in the capital of Tajikistan, Dushanbe, followed the training in human rights which was organized by TAIEMM with the support of UNESCO's International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
Three media training workshops provided journalists with an overview of the fundamental principles of human rights including labour and pension rights, children's rights, gender law, HIV and AIDS related laws and procedural rules.
This training series was specifically designed to give journalists practical knowledge and skills necessary for television and radio reporting, preparation of articles and conducting of interviews. They also learned to inform the public on how to overcome problems of excessive bureaucracy.
"The majority of our audience and readers are rural residents; they are deprived of their right to obtain legal advice and necessary legal assistance. When people from the villages learn more about their rights and responsibilities, they can be involved in local economic and political reforms," said Mahmoud Dadabaev, Director of TV Dzhahonaro.
After the training, signs of dialogue have begun to emerge on human rights issues. Vladimir Martynov, the editor of a popular talk show in the town of Isfara, northern Tajikistan, reported substantial improvement in the relationship between media and the local administration, which had previously been reluctant to media criticism. Human rights are becoming a more popular topic of talk shows and news programmes with wider participation of citizens and civil society organizations.