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Ozodi's Mass Appeal

Radio Ozodi's website,, is among the most-read websites in all of Tajikistan.
Radio Ozodi's website,, is among the most-read websites in all of Tajikistan.
Radio Ozodi, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, can add a new distinction to its already accomplished record.

Its website,, has been named by the Civil Initiative on Internet Policy (CIPI), a Dushanbe-based NGO that promotes information and communication technologies, among the most-read websites in Tajikistan.

"Ozodi is a major source of timely and comprehensive information in Tajikistan,” CIPI President Muhammadi Ibodullo told RFE/RL. “It will be very hard for other websites to achieve this level.”

In a reflection of its popularity, the number of visitors to Radio Ozodi’s website has grown 42 percent in the past year, with nearly 75,000 unique visitors last month compared to about 50,000 in September 2011.

Tajik Service Director Sojida Djakhfarova attributes Ozodi’s surge in popularity to its responsiveness to market trends.

“I've observed that most people visit our website in the mid-morning hours when they arrive at work,” she said. “So we increased the number of people in our Dushanbe office who gather news early. When people come to Ozodi and can gather all of their news there, they come back rather than going to our competitors.”

Within the last three months, the website’s most-read stories were an expose of the murder of a national security officer, coverage of a fire in Dushanbe’s largest market that bankrupted over 2,000 merchants, and a piece on Badakhshan citizens’ frustration with sustained military presence in their region.

Ibodullo believes the website’s appeal outside of Tajikistan is also what sets it apart from others.

"We have about one million migrants who get information in their native language, and it makes Ozodi unique."

-- Rob Peace