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Tajik journalists face fines for ‘incomprehensible’ words

world Updated: Aug 02, 2016 16:12 IST
AFP
AFP
Tajikistan

“There are cases when journalists use as many as 10 words in one day that the simple reader, viewer or listener cannot comprehend,” said Gavhar Sharifzoda, the head of Tajikistan’s state language committee.(Shutterstock)

First they banned Russia’s version of Father Christmas, then they forbade foreign names for babies.

And now Tajikistan, one of Central Asia’s most reclusive states, is going to start fining journalists caught using “incomprehensible” words, a government official said on Monday.

“There are cases when journalists use as many as 10 words in one day that the simple reader, viewer or listener cannot comprehend,” said Gavhar Sharifzoda, the head of Tajikistan’s state language committee, in comments carried by Russia’s Interfax news service.

“This grossly violates the norms of state language.”

Authorities in the country of eight million have recently complained about the growing influence on Tajik, the official state language, of Farsi and Dari, which is spoken in Afghanistan.

Sharifzoda said fines for individuals will range from $75 to $100 (67 to 90 euros), while state officials and organisations will have to pay up to $200.

It remains unclear when the new regulations will come into force.

Tajik is the sole state language in Tajikistan although Russian is constitutionally recognised as a language of “inter-ethnic communication” and is widely spoken in the ex-Soviet republic.

In a bid to boost patriotism, the long-serving president of the impoverished country, Emomali Rakhmon, ended the use of Russian as an official language in 2009.

The Tajik language is still written in an adapted form of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, however.

The landlocked country has in the past adopted restrictive legislation, including bans on Russia’s version of Father Christmas, large public celebrations and non-Tajik names for newborn babies.

Similar regulations exist in other post-Soviet states, as they aim to curb the influence of Russian.

Reports of bans on the sale of Islamic clothing in certain cities and forced beard shavings by police in the secular country are also widespread.