President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev on 8 May, at a meeting with the heads of the Oliy Majlis, parties, judiciary and executive, on the outcome of the April 30 referendum, spoke about guarantees of freedom for journalists.
He called the media and journalists “the most influential force conveying the voice and opinion of the people to the general public and state authorities”.
“In order to consistently pursue a policy of openness in our society, freedom of the media and the right to receive, use and disseminate information are guaranteed. At the same time, freedom of speech also means responsibility. That is, we must not forget that the reliability and impartiality are the main criteria in the information space”, the head of state said.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev also stressed that special attention should be paid to the development of civil society institutions by increasing the role of NGOs and guaranteeing their rights.
It should be noted that Uzbekistan ranked 137th in the latest rating of press freedom by Reporters Without Borders, having lost four positions in 2022. According to the organisation, the situation with media freedom in the country remains “difficult”. The organisation’s report said the country has “repressive” media laws and widespread “surveillance, censorship and self-censorship”.
In early March, journalists and social activists appealed to the President of Uzbekistan for “hidden but severe censorship”. The Union of Journalists of Uzbekistan, commenting on the journalists' appeal, noted that it “did not observe any pressure on editorial offices and independent journalists and bloggers”. On the contrary, the Journalists' Union has reported cases of abuse of freedom of speech.