Uzbekistan Harrassing Journalists?

by Joshua Foust on 11/27/2007 · 1 comment

Let us never forget the journalists who have given their lives in the pursuit of truth. Though the number of murdered journalists in Russia is appalling, I have been surprised at the relatively small number of journalists killed in Uzbekistan (Alisher Saipov’s recent murder was so shocking in part because it was a rare occurrence).

I bring this up because while there are comparatively few Uzbek journalists who get murdered, there are many who are harassed, arrested without cause, and tortured. Libertad at neweurasia—Uzbekistan reports:

The fear of editors is justified. Elections day is coming closer and the atmosphere in Uzbekistan is getting very tense. In order to keep order and “pro-Karimov” mood in the country, law enforcement agencies will do their best to shut up every mind that contradicts to the one coming from Oq Saroi (White Houe). Due to this and to the fact that Alisher Saipov, a prominent journalist who severely criticized Karimov’s policy, was recently killed, today everyone in Uzbekistan, especially media workers, are careful of their steps.

This is not idle fear. Of course, if anyone thinks Karimov won’t do what he needs to to win the upcoming election, they’re quite silly. That does not make it not worthwhile, however; I just hope any who stick their necks out don’t lose them.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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{ 1 comment }

Brian November 27, 2007 at 1:56 pm

Well, he doesn’t really need to do this to “win” the upcoming election. I’m sure ‘official’ turnout will be unbelievably high and it’ll be in Karimov’s favor, regardless of offical mood. My guess is the reason for the clampdown (if they are indeed clamping down any more than the usual everyday clampdown) is to make sure that this election doesn’t actually turn into some kind of expression of the voter’s real thinking.
You wouldn’t want that to happen.

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