Tajikistan blocks access to Facebook amid criticism
Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon in 2009. / Getty Images
Tajikistan has banned Facebook from the Central Asian country to curb growing criticism of the country's president Imomali Rakhmon and its officials, Reuters reports.
Officials claim that blocking the social network was made with wide public support, alleging that people were being paid to post critical comments the government.
"I received many calls from citizens of Tajikistan asking me to shut down this Facebook as a hotbed of slander. Unknown people there insult the leaders of the state. They are apparently being paid well for that," said Beg Zukhurov, Tajikistan's head of communications service, said to reporters in Dushanbe, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal, Internet service providers were directed to block Facebook. Six Internet companies and six mobile phone carriers complied by the end of the day Monday.
This isn't the first time Facebook has been blocked from Tajikistan. Officials blocked access to the social network and a pair of websites in March for similar reason, Reuters reports.
Rahmon became de facto head of government in 1992 as speaker of parliament at the outset of a bloody civil war that ended in 1997 with an estimated 100,000 deaths, when his predecessors had resigned in an attempt to quell the violence. In 2006, he won a third term in office in an election that was described as neither free nor fair.
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