Uzbekistan is in the top ten countries for censorship of the media, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, ahead of Syria, Belarus, China and Russia.
From the Committee to Protect Journalists
Leader: President Islam Karimov, elected 1991; presidential term extended by referendums in 1995 and again in 2002.
How censorship works: Karimov has re-established a Soviet-style dictatorship that relies on brutal political intimidation to silence journalists, human rights activists, and the political opposition. Karimov’s regime uses an informal system of state censorship to prevent the domestic media from reporting on widespread police torture, poverty, and an Islamic opposition movement. Uzbekistan has also distinguished itself among the former Soviet republics as the leading jailer of journalists, with six behind bars at the end of 2005.
Lowlight: After troops killed hundreds of antigovernment protesters in the city of Andijan in May 2005, Karimov’s regime cracked down on foreign media. The BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Institute for War & Peace Reporting were forced to close their Tashkent bureaus. A dozen foreign correspondents and local reporters working for foreign media had to flee the country.