New York, December 19, 2016--Uzbek authorities should immediately release editor Muhammad Bekjanov and reporter Yusuf Ruzimuradov, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Bekjanov's relatives today told CPJ that they learned that Bekjanov had been moved to solitary confinement. The two have been imprisoned longer than any other journalists in the world, according to CPJ research.
As of December 1, 2015
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Dear U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating climate for press freedom in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. As you prepare to head to these countries later this week, we ask that you put press freedom on the agenda of your meetings with high-level government officials.
Anti-state activity is the most used charge against journalists
New York, April 29, 2014--As World Press Freedom Day approaches, journalists are languishing in prisons across the globe. Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov has been in jail for 15 years--one of the longest imprisonments of journalists worldwide. Prominent Iranian journalist Siamak Ghaderi has been beaten and whipped in custody, and Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai could barely walk or talk during a recent prison visit. All three are convicted on anti-state charges, the leading accusation used to imprison journalists. They are among 10 emblematic cases highlighted in a new campaign by the Committee to Protect Journalists launched today.
By Shazdeh Omari/CPJ News Editor
New York, April 29, 2014—Uzbek editor Muhammad Bekjanov has been in jail for 15 years, one of the longest imprisonments of journalists worldwide. Prominent Iranian journalist Siamak Ghaderi was imprisoned in 2010 and has been beaten and whipped in custody. Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, serving a 12-year jail term, could barely walk or talk during a prison visit in July 2013, his family said.
Following an established trend, authoritarian Uzbek leader Islam Karimov promised to address journalists' concerns but did not follow through by ending the repressive climate for the press in the country. The decades-long harassment against government critics has virtually wiped out the media landscape, forcing the domestic and international community to rely on rumors or leaked diplomatic cables to get information on topics including the aging leader's health or his reaction to international events. At least four journalists remained in jail in late 2013, where they were allegedly tortured and denied appropriate medical care. Human rights activists, including those in exile, also faced official harassment and prosecution after reporting on corruption and abuses in Uzbekistan. One exiled human rights activist, Nadezhda Atayeva, was sentenced to seven years in absentia on embezzlement charges after reporting on human rights abuses. One journalist, Sergei Naumov, was jailed on fabricated charges of hooliganism just days after an Uzbek official denied jailing critics and assured the U.N. Human Rights Council that authorities were complying with international human rights standards. But this soon became hard to verify: Citing official obstruction to its work, the International Committee of the Red Cross publicly announced in April that it had terminated visits to Uzbek prisons.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.