Uzbekistan has unblocked the websites of several foreign media and human rights organizations as part of the efforts of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to open the most populous country in Central Asia after several years of isolation, Bloomberg reports.
“This step was taken after Harlem Desir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, raised the issue with the President of Uzbekistan. Unlocked websites include the BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle, Fergana News Agency, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Sans Frontieres websites,” the publication said.
Earlier it was reported that on May 11, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir welcomed the opening of access to several information and human rights organizations’ websites in Uzbekistan. He also expressed the hope that access to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty sites will be unlocked in the near future. These sites are currently unavailable.
On May 10, the acting director of the agency Komil Allamjonov reported on his Facebook page that the agency had studied the facts of difficult access to some foreign news web resources, which were voiced by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
According to Komil Allamjonov, now full access to such web resources as Voice of America, Amerika ovozi, BBC Uzbek, Deutsche Welle, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters sans frontieres, Eurasianet.org, AsiaTerra, Fergana Agency , Centre1, Uzmetronom and other foreign news websites is restored.
“I would especially like to note that the head of state constantly emphasizes the need to ensure freedom of speech and information in the republic. In line with this, the Agency continues activities aimed at strengthening the status of journalists, developing media and civic journalism, improving the legal framework, ensuring transparency and openness of state bodies,” he said.
It should be recalled that in mid-April, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir called on the Uzbek authorities to stop blocking certain media. The official appeal was published on the website of the international organization.
In turn, on April 18, the Information and Mass Communications Agency noted that they would study the issue regarding the blocking of certain news media resources in Uzbekistan.
“The Agency has carefully read the statement of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and intends to carefully study the facts of difficult access to certain news web resources,” Allamjonov wrote then.