Sunday 1.1.2017 in Expression in Uzbekistan Country Page
Article 29 of the country’s Constitution guarantees freedom of expression but in practice, the government has a well-established mechanism for curtailing free speech and dissent. The authorities have used surveillance against human rights activists, independent journalists and government critics who speak out and voice their opinion or opposition to government policy. Such individuals are routinely subjected to police interrogations, arbitrary arrests and prosecution as well as imprisonment on trumped-up charges. In 2016 journalists who reported that President Islam Karimov had died were subject to death threats and harassment. Positively, on 22nd February 2017, Muhammad Bekjanov, former editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Erk who was arrested for raising debates on the economy was released from prison but is prohibited from leaving the country for one year. However, concerningly, fellow journalist Yusuf Ruzimuradov who was jailed with Bekjanov remains incarcerated. There is a list of words and phrases that are forbidden from use and the government blocks websites that carry content that criticises it. Journalists who work in exile also report pressure and intimidation from the State.