Tajikistan blocked Viber and puts tax pressure on tech companies

Amidst a cash flow crisis, Tajikistan is taking measures to increasingly monopolise Internet services. Earlier this month, it ordered local Internet service providers to only purchase Internet infrastructure from the Tajik state-owned company, and stop buying it from Kyrgyzstan. The country also took measures to block Viber’s voice calls, a move motivated to benefit state-run telecom operator Tojiktelecom. While the shutdown of Viber seems to be coming to an end, the government is now looking to increase revenues from taxing foreign Internet companies. After issuing fines for tax evasion to Russian and European telecom companies in 2017, it is exploring ways to tax Google, Alibaba and Telegram, mirroring Russia’s ‘Google tax law’.