Uzbekistan Government Bias
Government Type: Republic under Authoritarian Presidential Rule
Leader: President Shavkat Mirziyoyev
Political Party: The Liberal Democratic Party, or UzLiDeP
Political Position: The party is a movement of entrepreneurs and businessmen and holds a center-right position
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 28.87 – Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Uzbekistan 137/180
According to Reporters Without Borders, following Karimov’s death (the previous president who ruled Uzbekistan for almost three decades), Shavkat Mirziyoyev became the new president; however, Media freedom is still restricted, and “criticizing state power remains complicated.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
In a nutshell, Uzbekistan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and President Islam Karimov ruled Uzbekistan for 25 years until his death. Censorship and threats to journalists were standard practices during his presidency. In 2016, following his death, his prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev became the president. Mirziyoyev promised to improve human rights on several occasions, but restrictive policies on media remained the same.
Uzbekistan’s government dominates the media landscape; for example, state-owned television stations run by the Television and Radio Company of Uzbekistan (MTRK) dominate the media landscape. And MTRK runs “O’zbekiston,” “Toshkent TV,” “Madaniyat VA Maʼrifat,” “Dunyo Boʻylab,” Yoshlar,” and several radio stations.
The government also controls print media by directly owning them, such as Pravda Vostoka, Xalq Sozi (Khalk Sozi), and Narodnoye Slovo. Privately-owned papers are Novosti Uzbekistana, owned by Media Biznes LLP (ownership not transparent), and Afisha Media, which owns Gazeta Uz. Media outlets that are critical of the government often get a warning from the Agency for Information and Mass Communications (AIMC).
In conclusion, despite some positive steps taken by President Mirziyoyev, such as releasing a few political prisoners, the government maintains its control of media directly and indirectly since it owns, funds, and regulates most TV stations and print media. The government also intimidates critical voices. For example, bloggers are often threatened or arrested, as was the case with an Uzbek blogger who was found “guilty of threatening public security by reposting and commenting on a social media post.” Therefore, the media of Uzbekistan faces a lack of press freedom.
Last Updated on June 3, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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