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Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Uzbekistan vilifies independent journalists

From Reporters Without Borders:

Reporters Without Borders expressed dismay at a campaign of denigration against independent journalists in Uzbekistan who covered the bloody events in Andijan in May.

The Uzbek secret services (SNB) has been instructing newspapers to carry ready written unsigned articles that vilify independent journalists who covered events in Andijan, calling them "traitors to the country" and "liars".

The sole journalist who managed to remain in Andijan after the events of 13 May 2005, Alexsey Volosevich, correspondent for the website www.fergana.ru, was targeted in an article carried on 3 June by the weekly Mokhiyat, portraying him as a hooligan. The newspaper Zerkalo XXI also carried an extremely virulent article on 9 June 2005 against independent radio Ozodlik (Radio Liberty), giving biased details about the personal life of journalist Hamroqul Qarshiev. The article concluded, "We will not abandon our country to foreign enemies".

"Two to three months from now, all the independent journalists will have been arrested and put in prison," said and independent journalist, based in Karshi.

The Uzbek authorities have completely expropriated news and information. It is still impossible to access Russian television stations REN-TV and TV-Tsentr in Uzbekistan and the country's Internet providers have blocked all independent Internet websites. Radio remains the best source of independently sourced news but is limited to just a few hours in the Uzbek language on the BBC, Ozodlyk (Radio Liberty) and the Voice of America. The US public radio resumed its half-hour daily broadcasts on 12 June after a year of interruption.

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