In his address to the parliament, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev once again spoke about the role of the media in ensuring freedom of speech. He noted that the activities of the Agency for Information and Mass Communications should be reformed.
“I would like to emphasize that the mass media, along with objective coverage of the large-scale changes taking place in our country, draws the attention of government agencies and the public to the current problems at places, urging leaders at all levels to resolve them.
They are literally becoming the fourth estate. Some critical materials published by them are disrupting the peace and comfort of local officials.
But transparency and freedom of speech is a requirement of the time, it is a requirement of reforms in Uzbekistan.
Over the past four years, we have been gradually learning to live and work in an environment of openness and transparency, trying to ensure freedom of speech in our society. Journalists and bloggers are rightfully criticizing managers who work in an old-fashioned way, forcing them to change their work style and increase their accountability.
From now onwards, it is necessary for each government agency to establish close communication and cooperation with the mass media.
As evidence of our bold steps to liberalize the existing legislation in this area, recently, the penalties in the form of imprisonment under relevant articles of the Criminal Code for such wrongdoings as “slander” and “insult” through the press, were abolished.
Next year, the legal framework for ensuring freedom of speech, comprehensive development of the mass media, and the free movement of journalists and bloggers will be further strengthened.
At the initial stage of raising the development of our country to a new level, the Agency for Information and Mass Communications was established to provide broad support to the mass media.
Today, I believe that it is necessary to critically reconsider the activities of the Agency, to further develop it and support its independent operation,” the President said.