Journalist loses accreditation over report about Tajikistan’s president May 14, 2021 Find out more November 6, 2020 Find out more Credit: Rjruiziii / CC BY-SA Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the withdrawal of newly approved legislative amendments in Tajikistan under which false or inaccurate Covid-19 coverage would be subject to heavy fines. This could lead to censorship and other abuses, RSF warns.Under the amendments to the Administrative Code voted by the Tajik parliament on 10 June, anyone providing “false” or “inaccurate” information about Covid-19 in the media or on social media could be fined up to 1,160 somoni (995 euros) – nearly twice the minimum monthly wage.“This new, vaguely defined legislation could be exploited to violate the right to information,” said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “Under international law, nothing ever justifies giving a public authority the power to decide what is true or false, or – without reference to a judge – to restrict the right of a person or media to freedom of expression on the grounds that what they say might be false or inaccurate. We call for the withdrawal of these amendments, which violate freedom of the press and expression.”One of first targets of these amendments could be Kvtj.info, a website founded by civil society representatives that is keeping a tally of the number of Covid-19 deaths in Tajikistan, a tally verified by journalists based abroad. Its latest tally is 430, as against the official figure of 49. The site has been blocked within Tajikistan since 11 May.Despite a surge in the number of pneumonia deaths, the authorities denied that the epidemic had reached Tajikistan until 30 April, 24 hours before a visit by a delegation from the World Health Organization. After just one month of lockdown, as against that the three that are usual in better equipped countries, the authorities now say the epidemic is under control and are preparing to loosen it.RSF recommends that the Tajik authorities should combat disinformation by means of self-regulatory mechanisms that promote the best journalists standards and ethics, such as the Journalism Trust Initiative. Launched by RSF and its partners, the JTI is a set of standards for reliable, trustworthy journalism with indicators that allow individual media outlets to assess themselves, to improve their practices to satisfy the standards, and to publish their evaluation results. The standards covered range from transparency of media ownership and revenue sources to correction procedures and other good practices.Tajikistan is ranked 161st out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. News News RSF_en Follow the news on Tajikistan TajikistanEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalistsOnline freedoms Covid19Freedom of expressionJudicial harassment Help by sharing this information to go further News News June 12, 2020 New Tajik legislation hampers coronavirus coverage August 25, 2020 Find out more #CollateralFreedom: RSF unblocks eight sites censored during pandemic TajikistanEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalistsOnline freedoms Covid19Freedom of expressionJudicial harassment Receive email alerts Tajikistan imposes total control over independent broadcast media Organisation
State testing could be expanded if necessary, officials said.Carey thanked Cuomo for granting the water district access to conduct sampling and stated he looks “forward to continuing to work with New York State to protect Massapequa’s water wells.”The Massapequa Water District has maps charting the plume’s path spanning more than two decades.Local and state officials have feuded for years as to how to contain the plume and protect water supplies, with officials from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) even supporting “post-wellhead treatment” for a time—allowing wells in the hazardous chemicals’ path to first become contaminated, then receive treatment.Critics panned the contamination-first strategy and demanded extraction wells to stop the spread of the toxic plume before it contaminated more public drinking water supplies and ultimately, the Great South Bay.In his statement, Schumer accused the Navy and Northrop Grumman of “stonewalling” the water districts in their attempts to test wells.The Navy has an agreement with the state DEC that calls for it to actively track down and remediate hot spots in the plume.Residents in the impacted areas are forced to deal with the effects of disposal practices dating back to World War II by the former aerospace and weapons manufacturer, previously known only as Grumman.Grumman was credited with helping the allies win the war, but its handling of waste has since come under scrutiny.In 1983, the 600-acre Grumman Aerospace-Bethpage Facility Site was listed in the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in New York State. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Rashed Mian & Christopher TwarowskiGov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the US Navy and Northrop Grumman to provide the state and a local water district access to monitoring wells so it can test for potential contamination caused by a toxic underground plume.Samples from the so-called “Grumman Plume”—the subject of a 2012 Long Island Press investigative multimedia report exposing its continuous southward journey and disastrous public health ramifications—will be tested for hazardous carcinogens by both the state and Massapequa Water District, Cuomo’s office announced Wednesday.“There have been too many questions about the extent of contamination caused by this plume and residents are frustrated with the lack of answers from the Navy and Northrop Grumman,” Cuomo said in a news release.New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said testing of wells is “just what the doctor ordered” for residents in Massapequa, Bethpage, and South Farmingdale—communities where the plume has threatened water supplies.The news may provide some relief to residents and water district officials who’ve been lobbying the state for years to act. The plume is essentially a 4.5-mile long by 3.5-mile wide cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals which has been traveling south-southeast unabated for decades. The underground plume first crossed Hempstead Turnpike years ago and is currently on the verge of creeping past the Southern State Parkway.As recently as last November Massapequa Water District President Stan Carey wrote a letter to the US Navy and Northrop Grumman asking permission to sample monitoring wells to test for the “correlation between the TCE in the monitoring wells and the TCE emanating from” the plume. TCE is short for Trichloroethylene, which is classified as a human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.As part of the state’s plan, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation will collect groundwater samples from monitoring wells in order to test for potential contaminants through a process called compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA), officials said. The Massapequa Water District will conduct its own independent analysis.