OSCE welcomes restored access to online media in Uzbekistan


VIENNA -- The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Wednesday (May 15) welcomed Uzbekistan's restoration of access to multiple internet-based media in Uzbekistan after more than ten years of intermittent blocking, according to a statement on the OSCE website.

Uzbekistan announced the restoration of access to the websites last Saturday (May 11).

A cautious increase in openness has been part of the country's reforms since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev took office in 2016, in part to drain away the appeal of extremism.

The Uzbek Agency of Information and Mass Communications has investigated the matter and has expressed its willingness to communicate constructively with the OSCE, according to the OSCE.

"I welcome the unblocking of media and information websites in Uzbekistan, including ... Voice of America and BBC and their Uzbek-language services, as well as sites of human rights organisations, such as Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch," said OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir.

"I hope that the website of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) will also be unblocked soon," he said. "I encourage Uzbekistan in furthering the reform of the media sector towards an open, free and diverse media landscape."

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