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Esfandiar Adinabay

Editor, Head of BBC Bureau in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Esfandiar joined the BBC in December 2002 as a local online and radio reporter in Tajikistan. He graduated from the School of Oriental Studies at the National University of Tajikistan in 1997 and continued his post-graduation research studies on Modern Iranian Literature for another three years. He obtained his Masters degree in Sociology from Hyderabad Central University, AP, India in 2002 as part of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations' two-year scholarship for foreign students.

Before joining the BBC Esfandiar had published poems and articles in local newspapers, on a variety of social, cultural and political issues in post-war Tajikistan. By the time he joined the BBC, online journalism was a new phenomenon in Tajikistan. Few media broadcasters were present online and most of them reported in Russian, a language once dominant across the former Soviet Union and familiar to urban elites in a rather rural, poor, mountainous and war-struck Tajikistan. BBC Persian was one of the first media broadcasters to bring the local vernacular online starting from early 2000s.

Over the past three decades Tajik media and society underwent great transformations, from widely distributed Soviet state-owned newspapers in 1980s to the emergence of opposition independent newspapers in the beginning of 1990s, from the suspension of almost all newspapers during the Civil War (1992-97) to the emergence of new independent newspapers, TV and radio stations in the new millennium. Some of Tajik newspapers and news agencies have recently gone online by launching their websites.

Similarly, the BBC has undergone changes both structurally and from the standpoint of its content since it started broadcasting radio programs for Tajikistan in early 1990s, right after the Civil War broke out in the country. The first BBC Journalist, Muhieddin Alempour was killed during the Civil War in 1995. But BBC reporters continued to report and cover developments in Tajikistan over the past two decades. Along with radio and online, a new platform emerged when the BBC Persian TV started broadcasting on satellite for Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in 2009. Some of the radio programs, including Central Asian Magazine, focusing on Tajikistan, were subsequently suspended to invest more on TV and Online journalism. Esfandiar was one of the leading local online journalists who covered social, political and cultural developments in Tajikistan. His main areas of interest were human rights and democratization, election and governance, poverty and corruption, labour migration and gender issues, environment and climate change. In 2009 he became the editor and head of the local BBC Bureau in Tajikistan. He currently leads a team of online, radio and TV journalists in Dushanbe who mainly contribute to the BBC Persian, but also to the Russian, Central Asian and other services as well.