New restrictions in Uzbekistan further limit free expression on Internet, OSCE Representative says
VIENNA, 8 September 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today said that amendments to a law in Uzbekistan further limit freedom of expression and free media in the country.
The amendments to the Law “On informatization” released on 5 September, introduce a wide definition of a blogger and impose a wide array of responsibilities, including a ban on untrue posts and reposts, as well an obligation to remove such untrue posts upon demand of the governmental authorities.
“Under the threat of blocking websites and administrative liability the law now obligates bloggers to report only verified and truthful information on every topic,” Mijatović said.
The Representative further noted that the restrictions go far beyond the admissible limits of free speech expressed in the OSCE commitments and other international standards.
“Freedom of online content is beneficial to freedom of the media and freedom of expression. I decry this step by authorities in Uzbekistan as these new restrictions will only take the country away from democratic principles and aspirations,” Mijatović said.
The Representative also reiterated her call for all imprisoned journalists in Uzbekistan to be set free immediately.
“I use this opportunity to again call on the authorities to release journalists Solijon Abdurakhmanov, Dilmurod Saiid and Hairullo Khamidov. No one should be detained, arrested or imprisoned because of what they say or write,” Mijatović said.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.