• Nation is a persistent jailer of journalists.
• Security agents enforce rigid censorship.
4: Years EU human rights sanctions were in place before being lifted in 2009.
President Islam Karimov’s authoritarian government held at least seven journalists in prison, retaining its notorious distinction as the region’s leading jailer of journalists. Authorities harassed independent journalists, blocked critical news Web sites, and retained their tight grip on traditional media. Lawyers who defended journalists found themselves the targets of state retaliation as the country’s judicial system grew more punitive. While authorities kept a stranglehold on free expression at home, Uzbek diplomats insisted that their country’s actions were consistent with democratic principles.