Introduction about censorship in Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan’s mass media law article 5 about freedom of mass media tells: ”Mass media in Uzbek Republic are free… everyone has a right to perform in mass media, to express his or her opinion and persuasion openly if it does not contradict to the law… mass media are responsible for objectivity and authenticity of the spreaded information”
Article 7 of the same law is about inadmissibility of censorship: “Censorship in mass media in Uzbek Republic is not admissible”.
De jure, mass media in Uzbekistan are free of governmental control within the law. De facto, some blogs are blocked by government because of any negative and critical information concerning president and Uzbekistan generally.
Internet in Uzbekistan is provided by UzNet, governmental provider, to other Uzbek internet providers. One of the governmental censorship mechanisms is blocking blogs through Internet-café. Sometimes administrators of Internet-café schedule “suspicious” sites which contradict to the governmental plan to the black list. Thus not only local blogs could be blocked, but any “shady” foreign blogs too. Another way of blocking realizes by blocking through general server.
There are cases, when the government justifies its censorship activity by saying that it wants to protect young people from inauthentic information about the independent state.
Uzbek government prosecutes bloggers, who express their opinion about negative side of Uzbekistan, by several means:
- Sometimes bloggers summon to the police for brainwashing
- Bloggers could be fired or could have problems with searching a job under pretence of various circumstances.
- Bloggers are responsible for the posted information, because the Internet is equated with mass media. If the information is not desirable for the government, it could be evaluated as erroneous. In this case the government could institute administrative proceedings against blogger at first and then even criminal proceeding.
According to the source there were no trials against bloggers yet.
Now Uzbek bloggers have problems with renewal of their blogs. Sometimes in order to post information they send it by e-mail to their friends outside Uzbekistan and they publish it. This situation reduces democratic processes in the country. Not all bloggers have reliable friends outside the country and to make a request to post your new article every time is not comfortable. By the words of the source, now the main task is to teach Uzbek bloggers to renew their blocked blogs in such circumstances. The source calls for help of foreign specialists to find solution for Uzbek bloggers.