Uzbekistan Prime Minister insulted journalists and banned live broadcasts on television
The live broadcast of the meetings of the International Press Club (IPC) and the newly opened Uzbekistan-24 television channel a month ago is over, Kun.Uz reports.
Abdulla Aripov (left), Sherzod Kudratkhodzhaev
IPC through its Telegram channel informed on 23 August at 11.00 that the session with representatives of the Ministry of Public Education will not appear live.
However, no official comment on the cancellation of the live broadcast of the IPC is still available.
Meanwhile, the "Munosabat" programme led live by journalist Kuddus Aizamov 4-5 times a week on "Uzbekistan" TV channel disappears.
According to Ozodlik Radio (Uzbek service of Radio Liberty), demands to stop live broadcasts emerged at a meeting of Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov and State Advisor to President Hairiddin Sultanov with journalists on 21 August in the media centre of the National Television and Radio Company (NTRK).
The journalists, who were present at the meeting which lasted six hours, confirmed the fact of the argument between the Prime Minister and the IPC moderator Sherzod Kudratkhodzhaev which ended with the order of angry Aripov to stop the live broadcasts.
"Premier Abdulla Aripov told the head of the IPC Sherzod Kudratkhodzhaev: 'You, boy, went too far. Who do you think you are?' Sherzod, who was angry, answered him: "Even though you are a prime minister, you have no right to shout at me." And a terrible squabble began," one of the journalists told.
According to him, in the end, Aripov said that henceforth "there will be no any online broadcasts, all of you will work keeping [tails] down. No live broadcasts, you will coordinate every broadcast with Hairiddin Sultanov. "
Prime Minister and State Advisor of the President want to return television in former times, Ozodlik Radio notes. According to participants of the meeting, Aripov reprimanded the chairman of NTRC Bobir Alikhanov, removed the appointed three days ago director of the "Uzbekistan" TV channel Khairullo Nuriddinov returning him to the position of deputy director, dismissed the director of the "Uzbekistan 24" TV channel Ozod Hamidhodzhaev who used to prepare seriously critical programmes about the social problems of the population, and in his place returned Nodir Tulaganov, who had been removed from the office. The deputy chair of the NTRK on technical issues Nusrat Khakimov and the cousin of the Prime Minister dismissed three months ago also returned to his previous position.
These actions of the prime minister caused tumultuous discussions among Uzbek segment users of Facebook who backed journalists and criticised the government's and the president's cowardice.
During the rule of Islam Karimov, live broadcasts on state television were practically impossible. With Shavkat Mirziyoyev's coming to power, the Uzbek publications began to allow themselves a slight criticism of local officials, cautiously raise problems related to roads, landscaping and the like.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev honouring the Day of Workers of the Press and Mass Media on 27 June named features that, in his opinion, distinguish real journalists:
“I consider real journalists to be representatives of this profession who boldly raise the issues of eliminating various barriers to our development, especially such negative manifestations as bureaucracy, indifference, extortion, corruption, for whom the duty and the meaning of life is the formation of public opinion irreconcilable to like vices,” President Mirziyoyev said.
He noted that “to achieve it media professionals need not only professional knowledge and skills, life experience, a sense of responsibility for their word, but at the same time - a strong civic position and spiritual courage.”
It seems that the prime minister does not share the opinion of the president or demonstrates that the words about freedom of speech and the like of the current head of state have equally little value, as the maxim of his predecessor. After President Mirziyoyev expresses his opinion about the offensive conduct of Aripov and the ban on live broadcasts it will be clear about his true position. Or he will not.
Fergana News Agency