No News

by Nathan Hamm on 4/11/2006

IRIN had a report the yesterday well worth reading on the difficulty in obtaining detailed and reliable news in Uzbekistan. This, of course, leads to a phenomenon with which many of us are familiar.

A crowd of young Uzbek men gather near their houses in the Chorsu district of the capital, Tashkent, to exchange news about local and international affairs. A lucky few have cable TV and access to Russian and international news but most have to rely on local sources.

“I think we will soon have a common currency with Russia,” one said, having heard Uzbekistan will be admitted to the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAzEC) in March this year.

“Now the borders will be open and we can freely travel to Kazakhstan,” another said, having heard of the recent visit of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev to Tashkent.

Alongside the difficulties in obtaining reliable news within Uzbekistan, there has been a quite noticeable drop in availability of news about Uzbekistan as pressure has been put on foreign news agencies and the local journalists working for them.

The story criticizes the official news websites that Uzbeks can access as only providing a rosy picture of the country. Ironically, IRIN carries a story about Uzbekistan more or less in that same vein today.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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