Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

UZBEKISTAN: New Decree gives “legal” basis to existing censorship
ICC Note:
“Books and other materials encouraging individuals to change their beliefs or which, in the state’s opinion, “distort” beliefs are now specifically banned under a sweeping new censorship Decree, Forum 18 News Service notes. The Decree, which came into force on 27 January, gives a “legal” basis for the severe state restrictions on production, sale, distribution and import of religious materials. The Decree contains numerous violations of the conventions the country has under international human rights law promised to implement.”
By Mushfig Bayram
2/12/14 Uzbekistan (Forum 18)-Uzbekistan has further formalised its existing de facto restrictions on the freedoms of expression, religion and belief by establishing a “legal” basis for its long-established de facto severe state restrictions on religion or belief-related literature, films, recordings, websites and other materials, Forum 18 News Service notes. The new Decree contains numerous violations of the conventions the country has under international human rights law promised to implement.
Entitled “Measures to improve order in the production, import and distribution of religious materials”, a new Decree imposes sweeping controls on the production, distribution and import of all such materials. It bans their distribution anywhere apart from in fixed commercial points of sale equipped with cash registers. Such materials, including those for personal use, cannot be imported without prior state permission.
The Decree also bans the production, storage or distribution of materials intended to encourage people to change their beliefs. It also bans works which, in the state’s interpretation, “distort religious canons”. The word “canons” is not defined in the Decree, but means the content of beliefs.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the Prime Minister, signed the Cabinet of Ministers Decree on 20 January. It came into force on its official publication on 27 January.
The Decree gives the state Religious Affairs Committee “together with interested ministries and agencies” one month to prepare changes to other laws to enforce provisions of the Decree. Supervision of implementation of the Decree was assigned to Deputy Prime Minister Adkham Ikramov, who covers cultural issues.
The Decree – which formalises the implementation of provisions in the 1998 Religion Law – tightens the already severe censorship regime.

[Full Story]