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Tajikistan: Loud Music Prohibited on Public Transit

(Mar. 21, 2014) On January 27, 2014, Tajikistan’s Minister of Culture confirmed that the ministry supports the enforcement of a decree issued previously by the mayor of the country’s capital city of Dushanbe, under which music alien to national traditions and “common human values” is prohibited from being broadcast or reproduced on public transit. (Head of the Tadjik Ministry of Culture Banned “Immoral” Rap and Rock in Transport [in Russian], NEWSRU.COM (Jan. 27, 2014).)

Bus and passenger van drivers will be fined if they are caught listening to loud rock and rap music, because, according to the decree, “these genres promote violence, sex, and contradict Islam.” Islam is the religion professed by the majority of Tajiks. A telephone hot line was established by the Dushanbe city government so that the public can report those drivers who violate the directive. The city police department was charged with monitoring the implementation of the decree. Similar restrictions apply to religious communications. The decree bans the distribution of leaflets with religious content on public transportation and the broadcast of recordings of religious preaching. (Avaz Iuldashev, Mayor of Dushanbe Banned Loud Music in Buses [in Russian], NEWS.TJ (Sept. 25, 2013).)

Other bans were announced in 2012 by the Ministry of Culture in regard to the showing of movies and videos that contain scenes of violence, murder, or war. According to the authorities, these movies are the reason for the increased crime rate among Tajik youth. The ban will not apply to movies showing historical events where such scenes can be justified. Local police check stores and video clubs periodically, seizing copies of the banned movies. (Tadjikistan Introduced Movie Censorship [in Russian], NEWSRU.COM (May 18, 2012).)