How To Survive As A Journalist In Uzbekistan

by Student on 5/1/2005

Again about journalists and journalism in Uzbekistan. An interesting article by Julie A. Corwin has been posted at the website of RFE/RL:

As Morfius described it, journalism in Uzbekistan requires a well-developed sense of restraint. While some subjects, such as criticisms of Karimov, are predictably taboo, others are less obvious. For example, articles about Uzbekistan’s neighbors, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, appear so rarely that they would almost appear to be banned. Why? According to Morfius, “Because their economies have outstripped Uzbekistan’s in terms of economic development, which raises the question of why is Uzbekistan’s government so untalented?” It is forbidden to write about other countries’ economic achievement or to report that Uzbekistan has one of the lowest per capita rates of foreign direct investment in the CIS. Integration among CIS countries is also off limits as a topic because its discussion might highlight how isolated Uzbekistan has become. Criticism of Uzbekistan’s one ally, benefactor, and protector, the United States, is, of course, precluded.

She also lists some words that journalists in Uzbek press avoid using them:

Communist Party;
“shakhid” (suicide bomber);
revolution, torture;
October Revolution;

And forbidden subjects:

“The personality, health and family of Islam Karimov and firms and companies belonging to him;
The personal lives or commercial activities of high-level bureaucrats;
The number of people who work for the Interior Ministry and intelligence service;
Repression of religious people;
The use of child labor;
Corruption in higher-education facilities;
Corruption among state bureaucrats or law-enforcement officials;
Military readiness;
Unpaid wages;
The official status of the Russian or Tajik languages;
Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin, or Karl Marx;
Censorship in Uzbekistan “

(read the full article)

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