“In his every speech, the President says that the press is open, free and there is no going back. This is the main political direction. In practice, it is natural to have a problem with this, because it is a struggle,” Komil Allamjonov said.
In an interview with the BBC, Komil Allamjonov, chairman of the Mass Media Foundation, answered questions about the situation with freedom of speech in Uzbekistan, the President’s treatment of journalists and his recently published book “Allamjonov is to be blamed”.
- Today in Uzbekistan, there is a perception among active journalists, bloggers or public activists in general that the situation with freedom of speech and press is deteriorating. How do you react to such views?
- You know, everything depends on the main goal and the main leader. In his every speech, the President says that the press is open, free and there is no going back. This is the main political direction. In practice, it is natural to have a problem with this, because it is a struggle.
Truth is always bitter. In the course of this struggle, various unfortunate incidents, including those with journalists, have affected our indexes in the world, and this year, for example, we have gone one step back. Most importantly, we are moving forward.
Let our fans not be disappointed. Everything is known by comparison. If we compare our journalism with the developed European countries, the United States, yes, we are lagging behind. But we are far ahead compared to the previous Uzbekistan. It all depends on the point of view you look at.
Therefore, I say that we should not lower our hands. No one talked before thinking that it would be difficult. Because when there is a problem with our officials, no one is accustomed to speak openly. But everything is open now, anyway, problems are being addressed.
Yes, it is getting hard. There are pressures. It is has never been easy. Where are such reforms easily achieved? Where are these things resolved easily? No, it requires willpower, hard work, perseverance and walking in the right direction.
- In your book, you said that when you worked as the President’s press secretary, you greatly revived the press system. Did you make any effort to arrange a live dialogue between the President and journalists at the time?
- You know, when we worked in the presidential press service, a lot had to be started from scratch. There were a lot of issues, a lot of projects that needed to be done, and we have done. But I didn’t get to that point, I didn’t have time.
- As a person who worked as a spokesman for the President, as a person who can have a great impact on the press policy in Uzbekistan in general, what do you think, why the President’s live dialogue with journalists is not organized?
- There are different types of live communication; live conversations have already begun. As you can see, there are meetings and interviews with journalists now. Gradually it has reached to this point, now it is difficult for me to answer for it now because there are people responsible for this issue. I think they should be able to provide more detailed information.
- Can you tell us the reasons for your resignation from the post of Presidential Spokesman?
- Because of my health.
- In your book you wrote that due to some actions you were blacklisted by the former National Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. What kind of list is this and what happens to those who fall into it?
- This is a figurative analogy, I do not think that an exact list will be maintained. But there were a lot of problems in my life at that time, I received a lot of signals when there were these problems, there were threats, I wrote everything based on my experiences at that time.
- At the bottom of the black lines in the book, you wrote that it is not time to reveal these words. When can these black lines be disclosed?
- The disclosure of these black lines is connected with my inner feelings, with my inner experiences. Now, let me tell you, I have my doubts, a comparison, a thought... I’m still in the process. I will announce it one day, when I am absolutely convinced of my right way by 100%.
- So the revelation of these black lines depends on the political situation in the country?
- No, I would not write this if it was due to the political situation. It’s only up to me to write something down and delete it.
- Did you present your book to the President?
- If this book is so interesting at his level, if it catches his eye and he is interested in it, I will only be happy about it.