There is a very public battle under way in Uzbekistan between several media outlets and the agency tasked with overseeing the press in the country.
The outlets say they have the right — and a duty — to report on current and pervasive energy shortages and the true scale of the spread and human cost of the coronavirus pandemic in Uzbekistan.
But the Agency for Information and Mass Communications (AIMC) objects to the sources and “negativity” of some reports and what it calls “one-sided” information.
AIMC Director Asadjon Khodjaev has warned the offending outlets and said there could be “serious legal consequences” if they do not rein in their reporting.
Ever since Shavkat Mirziyoev became president in late 2016, Uzbek authorities have promised to ease restrictions put in place by his predecessor, longtime authoritarian leader Islam Karimov, that earned the government a reputation as a chronic abuser of rights.
There have been some positive changes, though the media has been kept on a short leash the past four years.