Throughout this project, Tajik journalists will have the opportunity to learn about how Americans counter and prevent violent extremism domestically. Participants also observe how the press professionally covers this complicated issue in the United States. This tour seeks to embolden them to cover CVE-related issues at home, in Tajikistan.
With an estimated 1500 Tajik foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria and 800 mile border with Afghanistan, Tajikistan faces challenges countering violent extremism (CVE). Unsteady social, political, and economic institutions contribute to the population’s vulnerability to extremist messaging. Developments on the border with Afghanistan, caused by rising instability in the northern part of that country and tensions along other border areas, threaten Tajikistan’s security. In addition, around one out of eight million Tajiks live abroad as migrant workers, making preventing radicalism extremely important to both Tajikistan and those countries where Tajikistanis work.
These factors are compounded by how the subject of violent extremism is covered in the press. It is often a taboo subject, and news outlets have been criticized for colluding with terrorists by government officials when reporting on CVE issues or been chided for not reporting sufficiently. In September of 2015, the major political opposition party was closed and labeled an extremist organization, further complicating the issue.
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