Uzbekistan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Since the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the administration of President Islam Karimov has substantially impeded the development of a free press. Article 29 of the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and information, while Article 67 bans censorship. However, the media do not enjoy these rights in practice. In May, the state ended formal censorship of the press by shifting responsibilities directly to editors. The next month, administration officials set an example of noncompliance and removed the chief editor of the weekly newspaper Mohiyat following the publication of an article on press freedom. Other newspaper editors quickly hired former government censors to vet all material prior to publication. The result is the same as that which occurred under state-mandated censorship. Libel and defamation of the president remain criminal offenses. Critical journalists frequently experience harassment, death threats, and physical violence. Radio and television stations are subject to annual re-registration. The Karimov administration has used this process to revoke the licenses of unsympathetic broadcasters. The state controls all aspects of printing and distribution. The government dominates the main journalists' union, and there are no independent journalists associations.