Media strategy of the Civil Society Coalition Against Torture and Illegitimacy in Tajikistan


The Civil Society Coalition against Torture and Impunity (hereinafter referred to as the Coalition) was established in September 2011 to consolidate the efforts of civil society to combat torture and impunity in the Republic of Tajikistan. The Coalition unites 13 organizations, 6 individual partners, more than 100 people - representatives of the Coalition member organizations, lawyers, journalists, psychologists, medical experts, justice experts and operates in accordance with the agreed Rules and Principles of participation in the Coalition and the Strategy.

Transparency and professional ethics are the main principles in the activities of the Coalition. The activities of the Coalition are carried out within the framework of working groups[1], which are not duplicated, but interconnected. The Coalition is an important platform and safe space for all its members to gain support, professional advice, consultation, enhance their professional skills, join forces and speak with one voice to more effectively influence decision-makers, victims and donors.

The work of the Coalition is recognized at the national and international levels; the Coalition member organizations are members of international platforms for freedom from torture (e.g., the PF "Tashabbusi Khukuki" joined the IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims), an independent international organization of medical professionals, which promotes and supports the rehabilitation of torture victims and works to prevent torture worldwide).

The Coalition has its own website, which is a comprehensive information tool on torture and ill-treatment in Tajikistan, where one can find relevant media materials, policy documents, analysis  and research, interviews and other necessary information.

This Strategy has been developed for the period of 2024-2030. The strategy is aimed at broad coverage of freedom from torture in Tajikistan's national, regional and foreign media (print publications, radio and television, information and analytical Internet resources, etc.), as well as responding to specific cases of torture, promoting systemic changes in the fight against torture.

The Media Strategy facilitates the coordination of efforts to publicize freedom from torture and define common standards of information work within the framework of the Coalition’s activities with other partners from the media, state and law enforcement agencies, the population, victims of torture and/or ill-treatment and their relatives and other persons concerned.

Coordination of efforts and continuous exchange of information will make it possible to quickly respond to cases of torture and ill-treatment, to avoid duplication of activities, to conduct joint advocacy campaigns that will strengthen the fight against torture and impunity in Tajikistan.


Main Target Groups

Journalists and the media, including government ones (press secretaries, public relations offices/departments) play an important role in shaping a zero-tolerance policy towards torture. The strategy aims to provide quality information on torture issues in the media.

Journalists, representatives of human rights organizations and practicing lawyers, specializing in specific activities, do not cooperate sufficiently to protect and promote the rights and interests of torture victims, using the potential of the media. The Strategy aims to improve the cooperation of journalists with the civil society and practicing lawyers in preparing and publishing thematic publications in the media, as well as conducting information and advocacy campaigns.

Victims of torture and ill-treatment, as well as their families, are often unaware of their rights and human rights protection mechanisms. The Strategy aims to harness the potential of the media to raise awareness of their rights, as well as ensuring targeted protection of their interests.

The population, including vulnerable groups (persons with disabilities, inmates of closed/semi-closed institutions, students of general education schools, universities, etc.) in some cases do not understand that they have been tortured, that this is a crime. The Strategy is aimed at increasing information materials, publishing the norms of the Conventions and national legislation. The availability of information in the media can play an important role as a preventive mechanism against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. As a complement to the curricula of schools and universities, a course or free lecture on freedom from torture and ill-treatment can be introduced.


Brief Situation Analysis, Main Risks and Opportunities

Media Analysis (Internet resources, social pages, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, etc.) for 2023, in a short period of time when the work of the Media Group was temporarily suspended, has shown that the number of publications on freedom from torture and ill-treatment has decreased dramatically. There was even lack of general statistical information on the torture and near-torture problems, and no information was found on the positive practice of the state in that regard.

The government bodies avoid the topic of torture, even if there are positive steps in the field of combating torture, good practice (Yodgor Khasanov case, March 2022), despite the fact that the President of the country, Emomali Rahmon, back in November 2012, speaking on the occasion of Tajik Police Day, stated: “It should be noted that the policy of the Government of our country in the field of prevention of torture and other unacceptable forms during inquiry and preliminary investigation has been fully formed. Even this year, with the introduction of amendments to the criminal legislation, criminal liability is provided for persons who commit torture. Considering the highest value of human rights and freedoms, I strongly declare that not a single law enforcement officer, under any circumstances, has the right to use torture or humiliate the honor and dignity of a person”.

The practice and experience of the Media Group have shown that the media and independent journalists are increasingly becoming an important catalyst for discussion processes. In many cases, investigations into certain facts of torture are initiated, including after publications in the media. For example, according to the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan dated February 7, 2009, No. 622 “On the response of officials to critical and analytical materials of the media”, on the basis of which heads of ministries and departments, institutions and organizations, local executive bodies of state power are obliged to respond in a timely manner to critical articles and suggestions from the media. They must also submit reports on the results of the response to the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.

The Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Periodicals and Other Mass Media”, Art. 23, paragraph 3 “Government bodies, organizations and their officials are obliged to respond to the necessary official information, critical and analytical materials of the media that do not require additional study within up to three working days after the appeal or publication (broadcast) of the relevant information. Government bodies, organizations and their officials shall promptly provide urgent information of public importance, not included in the list of information constituting state secrets and other information protected by law and not requiring further study” (Article 23).

The Tajik legislation also obliges officials, heads of institutions and government bodies to respond or react to articles. Article 23, paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Law of the RT "On Periodicals and Other Mass Media" stipulates: “Heads of government bodies and organizations are obliged, through the appropriate media, to respond to critical and analytical material related to their activities and requiring additional study, within no more than two weeks after their publication (broadcast)".

Media coverage of cases of torture, investigations and judicial proceedings helps to attract the attention of the general public, government bodies, national and international human rights organizations to the need for criminal punishment of guilty officials, protection of victims of torture and adequate compensation for them.

At the same time, there are a number of problems that hinder high-quality and professional coverage of the topic of torture in the media and the use of available media opportunities:

  • Due to the growing level of self-censorship and “sensitivity” of topics of public importance, in particular the topic of torture and ill-treatment, journalists are afraid to collect, process and disseminate information on issues of torture and ill-treatment.
  • Lack of basic understanding of the concept of “torture” and other forms of ill-treatment. Some journalists confuse torture with other forms of ill-treatment and do not understand the difference between them.
  • Limited access of journalists and media editorial staff to objective information on facts of violations, investigative actions, trials, monitoring and research conducted in this area, as well as insufficient level of information exchange between interested parties.
  • Insufficient interaction between the media, public organizations and lawyers in the preparation of publications on the topic of torture, including the low level of involvement of journalists in events conducted by human rights defenders (monitoring, strategic litigation, advocacy campaigns, etc.), lack of systematic information work.
  • Insufficient understanding by employees of public organizations, lawyers, psychologists, medical staff and other experts of the methods of work of journalists and the media, resulting in differences in approaches and problems of interaction.


Major Opportunities

The introduction of international norms into national legislation, in particular the harmonization of sanctions in Article 143 note 1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan, and bringing the norms of the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan into conformity with the norms of international law, is the result of the actual recognition by the government bodies of Tajikistan of the existence of the problem of torture in the country.

Increasing the number of publications in print and electronic media on this topic is one of the possibilities for preventing torture and ill-treatment.

Often, people who have suffered from the actions of law enforcement officers and other government agencies, as well as their lawyers and relatives, turn to the media and independent journalists as the last resort to protect their rights and freedoms. Human rights organizations, by establishing and developing relationships with journalists and media editors, can receive up-to-date information about specific cases of torture, as well as use the human, information and technical resources of media organizations in activities to combat torture in Tajikistan.

Since 2012, the Coalition has intensified its media relations activities by establishing cooperation with journalists and the media, informing about its activities through its information website and social networks. During 2019-2023, more than 1,000 materials were published on the Coalition’s website - news, analytical materials, interviews, video and audio materials in Russian and Tajik.

The Coalition, carrying out systematic information work, increases legal literacy and forms a policy of “zero tolerance” towards torture and impunity in the country. 

As is known, the prohibition on the use of torture and ill-treatment is absolute, because the use of torture undermines the rule of law and the moral authority of the state itself. Publications in the media and exposure of those responsible for the use of torture and ill-treatment contribute to the fact that the practice of torture is condemned at the highest level, which, in turn, can have the effect of condemning torture throughout the vertical chain (hierarchy) of power. In addition, publications on this sensitive topic help to identify new vulnerable groups, in particular people with disabilities, who alone cannot defend their rights and who can be included in educational trainings on the topic of preventing torture.


Main Goals, Objectives and Results of the Strategy

The main goal of the Media Strategy is to form a sustainable policy of “zero tolerance” to torture in Tajikistan among officials and persons equivalent to them, as well as a wide range of the population.

Objectives of the Strategy:

  • Systematic coverage of the Coalition’s activities and its efforts to prevent and effectively combat torture and impunity. It is necessary to intensify cooperation and interaction within the Coalition in order to highlight all the enormous activities being carried out in this direction, in order to raise public awareness and media interest; the identity of the alleged victims of torture and ill-treatment may not be indicated in publications, giving only the initials.
  • Drawing attention to the problem of torture.
  • Preparation and dissemination of quality information about the problem of torture.

Expected Results:

  • Effective tools have been developed and established for systematic coverage of the Coalition’s activities.
  • Effective cooperation has been established with the media and journalists to cover the problem of torture.
  • The public understands that torture is a serious crime and there is no need to remain silent about it. Citizens are aware of the procedure for filing a complaint and protecting their rights.


Tools and Dissemination Channels Used

The Coalition uses several channels to disseminate information:

  • distribution by e-mail of the Coalition to more than 1000 recipients both within and outside the country;
  • publication of press releases, information materials, special materials;
  • holding press conferences (for individual events or on a regular basis);
  • organizing interviews with members of the Coalition for the media with an overview of the situation in the field of torture;
  • inviting the media to conferences and forums organized by the Coalition;
  • organizing information support for individual cases - provision of documents, communication with relatives;
  • consulting journalists in the field of combating torture - mutual exchange of information;
  • publication of information on the Coalition website, its promotion among journalists as a reliable source of information for the media;
  • expert analytical materials;
  • development and implementation of a mobile application for the Coalition website;
  • active use of specially created pages and groups of the Coalition on social networks (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, Instagram);
  • production of booklets, brochures and other printed materials;
  • carrying out thematic actions and campaigns condemning the use of torture: holding a photo exhibition in which the photographs depict mental suffering and pain of relatives of victims of torture, thereby developing empathy among viewers; regular updating of the book “Broken Fates” about victims of torture and ill-treatment in Tajikistan; online marathons, quizzes, on-site legal consultations;
  • conducting educational events - trainings, seminars, round tables, working with press centers of government agencies, etc.
  • production of visual products (umbrellas, calendars, T-shirts, baseball caps with the Coalition logo and hotline numbers, etc.).


Strategy Implementation

For the purposes of implementing the Strategy, the Coalition Media Group consisting of representatives of member organizations and partners of the Coalition has been established and is operational. The Media Group carries out its activities on the basis of this Strategy and annually approved Media Group’s work plans.

Media Group Secretariat comprises Media Group Coordinator, Site Administrator and Site Editors. 


How to Reach Us?

The Coalition has its own website, which is a comprehensive information platform on torture and ill-treatment in Tajikistan. The Civil Society Coalition against Torture and Impunity in Tajikistan provides free legal and rehabilitation (medical and psychosocial) assistance.

Our Social Media Pages:





Instagram: Notorturetj 

Our e-mail:

Legal Aid Group hotline numbers:

+992 98 787 66 66 in Khatlon region

 +992 98 787 33 33 in Sughd region

 +992 98 708 76 76 in Dushanbe and DRS

You can also write to the indicated numbers on WhatsApp or Telegram.


For violations of the rights of servicemen and conscripts, please call (+992) 933331703, (+992) 922221803.

You can also contact us outside of business hours, including weekends and holidays.


[1] The Analytical Group, Legal Aid Group, Group for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Their Families, Media Group and Istanbul Protocol Project.