Freedom of speech and information is an important factor in democratic development

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May 24, 2018

Freedom of speech and information is an important factor in democratic development

Today, Uzbekistan has created conditions for an open exchange of views in the society, effective and free activity of the media, ensuring the openness of the electoral process. During the years of independence, great work has been done and significant results have been achieved in the field of democratization and liberalization of the information sphere, ensuring genuine freedom of speech and information.

Formed legislation that effectively regulates relations in this area on the principles of equality and pluralism. These are the laws “On the mass media”, “On the protection of the professional activities of journalists”, “On guarantees and freedom of access to information”, “On the principles and guarantees of freedom of information” and “On informatization”.

An important step in this direction was the adoption of the laws “On the Openness of the Activities of State Authorities and Management” and “On Electronic Government”, which serve to strengthen constitutional guarantees for the protection of the information rights of citizens.

The media play an important role in strengthening the citizens’ sense of ownership of the ongoing reforms in the country, increasing their legal culture, social and political activity.

In the course of reforms in the information sphere aimed at ensuring freedom of speech and information, consistent measures have been implemented to simplify licensing procedures in the media. Significantly reduced the cost of state fees for registration of the media, introduced the procedure for electronic filing. This creates conditions for the development of a competitive environment among the mass media, pluralism, filling the national information space with relevant and popular information.

At present, there are about 1,500 media outlets in the country, including more than 380 Internet publications that have versions not only in Uzbek and Russian, but also in seven other languages. 63% of them are non-governmental.

In full accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, ratified by the Republic of Uzbekistan in 1995, the legislation and law enforcement practice of Uzbekistan guarantee the right of every person to freely express his opinion. This right includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart all kinds of information and ideas, can be limited only by law and solely to ensure the rights and reputation of others, protection of state security, public order, health or morality of the population.

Particular attention is paid to the legal and professional responsibility of journalists for the reliability of published materials. There are legal norms on the inadmissibility and responsibility for dissemination of knowingly false information discrediting honor and dignity of citizens, which are aimed primarily at ensuring legal guarantees for respect for human dignity, designed to strengthen the inherent in our mentality and culture principles of respect for people, creating the necessary conditions for honest and fair competition of political views of the participants in the electoral process.

In order to support independent, professional and socially responsible journalism, new information and analytical Internet sites will receive grants. This is stipulated by the State Program for the Implementation of the Strategy of Action for the five priority development directions of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 in the Year of Support of Active Business, Innovative Ideas and Technologies.

Funding will be provided by the Non-Governmental Media Foundation, which will be established by July 2018. In the projects of the new Fund special attention is paid to creating conditions for the formation of independent journalism.

Funds will be accumulated from deductions from the placement of advertisements and advertising in the media. The relevant bill was commissioned to be developed by the Press and Information Agency, the Public Fund for Support and Development of Independent Print Media, and non-governmental organizations NAEMM and NANNOUz.