Compliance of Uzbek legislation in the field of mass media with international standards

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May 24, 2018

Compliance of Uzbek legislation in the field of mass media with international standards

One of the most important human rights is the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Information, access to it, the possibility of its analysis and operational use, dissemination – the main value and condition of human development in modern society.

In Uzbekistan all conditions are created to ensure real freedom of speech, pluralism of opinions, open expression of people’s convictions. Evidence of this is the dynamic development and free functioning of about 1.5 thousand media out of which more than 60% are non-state media. Only in recent years, state channels such as “Madaniyat va Marifat”, “Dunyo Boylab”, “Navo”, “Oilaviy”, “Diyor”, “Bolajon”, “Mahalla”, “UzHD “, Non-state -“Milliy TV”, “Uzreport TV”, “ZOR TV”, “Sevimli” and “MY5″. They represent the whole range of opinions and beliefs, in them – their own view and attitude to the most important events in the country.

The guarantor of freedom of media activity in our country is primarily the developed legislative base. The Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan establishes the right of everyone to freedom of thought, speech and belief, to seek, receive and disseminate any information. In the development of these norms, more than 20 laws have been adopted – On Mass Media, On Guarantees and Freedom of Access to Information, On the Principles and Guarantees of Freedom of Information, On the Protection of Professional Activities of Journalists, On Copyright and Related Rights”, “On Telecommunications”, “On Postal Communication”, “On the Radio Frequency Spectrum”, “On Informatization”, “On Advertising”and others.

It is important that the existence of special laws regulating the activities of the media creates an integral system of legal acts, provides legal certainty in relations in the sphere and facilitates the real realization of media freedom. In this case Uzbekistan followed the example of such countries as Austria, the FRG, Sweden, whose constitutions pay special attention to media freedom, and there are special laws on the press. However, in some countries the lack of integrity of legislation significantly complicates the activities of the media.

Of no small importance for the freedom of the information sphere are state subsidies, social orders and grants, as well as the activities of non-state institutions supporting and developing the media. This is the Foundation for the Support and Development of Independent Print Media and News Agencies, the National Association of Electronic Media, the Creative Union of Journalists and other organizations. In particular, over 16 billion soums have been allocated from the state budget for the development of the sphere in recent years.

In addition, the media provided extensive tax and customs benefits and preferences. This allows them to annually send millions and billions of soums to further strengthen the economic independence and independence of the media, increasing their competitiveness.

The procedure for registration and licensing, suspension or termination of media activities from year to year is simplified, the rights and obligations of the founder, editor, journalist are expanded.

In particular, before the national legislation was not allowed registration of the media, if the location of the founder or one of the founders, or the publisher is located outside the country. Today such a restriction is lifted. The legal and physical persons of the Republic of Uzbekistan have the right to establish media in the country. Only the establishment of mass media by legal entities is not allowed, in the statutory fund of which the share of foreign investments is thirty percent or more. At the same time, all media, regardless of their form of ownership, have the same rights and powers, guarantees of free activity.

This not only corresponds to best practice, but also favorably differs from the experience of other countries, which substantially restrict the right of foreign nationals or companies to establish a media outlet.

A clear legislative consolidation of the procedure for stopping the activities of the media is of great importance in ensuring their freedom. In this context, Uzbekistan’s laws are also considered the most liberal in comparison with some countries. Thus, the Law “On Mass Media” stipulates that the suspension and termination of the mass media release is carried out only by a court decision or the founder himself. While in some countries the media can be terminated by the decision of the registering authority itself or by the department of the sphere.

The Constitution of Uzbekistan, the Law “On the Principles and Guarantees of Freedom of Information” secures the guarantees of the rights to search, request, receive, research, disseminate, use and store information. In accordance with the laws adopted in recent years – “On the Openness of the Activities of State Authorities and Management”, “On Electronic Government” and others – state bodies and public associations are obliged to provide everyone with access to information affecting his rights, freedoms and legitimate interests.

However, freedom of access to information cannot be absolute, especially if it involves such important concepts as public safety, honor and dignity of people. Here you cannot do without restrictions. The European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms allows restrictions on freedom of expression in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public order, for the protection of health and morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for ensuring credibility and impartiality justice.

It is important to note that in Uzbekistan, websites and blog pages are not registered, as in some developed countries. But they can apply to the registering authority about their registration as a media, which allows them to take full advantage of the privileges, guarantees and opportunities provided for in the legislation for the media and journalists. To date, the country has about 30,000 websites in the “Uz” domain, of which more than 360 operate as Internet media.

Access to websites in the country can be restricted only in one case, if the owner of the website, including the blogger, in violation of the law “On Informatization” allows the use of his website to call for a violent change to the existing constitutional order, territorial integrity countries; propaganda of war, violence and terrorism, as well as ideas of religious extremism, separatism and fundamentalism, dissemination of information that provokes national, racial, ethnic or religious hostility, as well as discrediting honor and dignity or business reputation of citizens, allowing interference in their privacy, e.

Uzbekistan also legislatively establishes the responsibility of journalists for the reliability of information. For example, the Law on the Protection of Professional Activities of Journalists, along with rights, establishes the duties of a journalist to verify the reliability of the materials being prepared and to provide objective information, adhere to the principle of the presumption of innocence, respect the rights and freedoms, honor and dignity of the individual. A journalist cannot use professional information for personal purposes, publish facts about the private life of an individual, and use audio and video recording without the consent of the source of information or the author.

This is absolutely correct, especially in the context of globalization, the formation of an information society, where the issues related to the rights and legitimate interests of citizens to be protected from attacks on their honor and dignity, interference in private life. The legislation of our country stipulates the norms aimed at ensuring the rights of citizens and legal entities to protect their business reputation, punishments for libel and insults are provided as dissemination of knowingly false information discrediting the honor and dignity of a person. Freedom of expression cannot be above the human right to respect for honor and dignity. These norms of Uzbek legislation fully comply with international legal acts and the experience of other democratic states of the world.