Freedom of speech and independent journalism are one of the main pillars of a democratic society. It is the duty of the state to protect them.
Dear Government Representatives,
As a result of the policy of openness and democratization introduced by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mirziyoyev from 2016 – 2020, there have been large-scale positive changes in the area of freedom of speech. The international community has also recognized this.
However, in the last few months, the arrests and imprisonment of journalists and bloggers in Uzbekistan are becoming increasingly more serious and are a source of concern for our organization and activists. The guilt or innocence of the parties involved in these cases must be decided by an independent court. This is undermined by the fact that we are seeing an increasing trend of threats and arrests of people who express critical views of the government. Our particular concern is that these cases have reached a level that can be considered systematic in nature.
Journalists and bloggers play an important role in disclosing information by conveying unbiased and reasoned information to the public and have great influence on the formation of public opinion. Excessive restrictions, arrests, and imprisonment of journalists and bloggers hinder the free flow of information and undermine the principles of a free press.
We therefore ask that you pay serious attention to these cases and take all measures to ensure freedom of speech and protect the rights of journalists and bloggers. We also call on the government to conduct transparent investigations into all cases related to the violation of journalists’ rights and ensure that the rule of law is upheld.
A democratic society should ensure a free and open exchange of information and journalists and bloggers should be able to carry out their professional activities without fear or threat of reprisal.
We hope that the government will uphold its domestic and international commitments to ensure the protection of freedom of speech and the rights of journalists and bloggers in Uzbekistan.
Pulat Ahunov, Chairman of the Association Central Asia
Gulnoz Mamarasulova, Director of the Representative Office of the Association of Central Asia in Uzbekistan