Uzbekistan Follows Democratic Way – OSCE Media Representative

Uzbekistan, Tashkent, 10 June / Trend corr. B.Abdullayev / Miklosh Kharashti, the OSCE Representative on Mass Media, stated that the international workshop on "Freedom of mass media in the modern democratic society" showed that Uzbekistan follows the way of democracy and liberalization.

"The workshop has demonstrated that Uzbekistan goes on the way of democratization and liberalization and the country undertakes all the necessary measures to prevent any obstacle to develop free mass information," Kharashti said in Tashkent.

"No country can succeed in democratization and liberalization, as well as freedom of mass media and journalists so soon. We understand that such changes do not happen at once. Time is needed for such changes," Kharashti stated.

OSCE plans to hold set of arrangements dedicated to the freedom of speech and mass media in Uzbekistan in 2008. "I believe that today's workshop will lay foundation for further discussions of the problems with regard to freedom of mass media in the country," OSCE representative said.

Richard Sachsen, Chairman of the Cambridge Forum, stated that the West states and mass media do not always take into consideration the culture and mentality of other countries while attempting to introduce their own west values of democracy, freedom of speech and mass media. "At present, the West understands that it was unfair towards Uzbekistan two or three years ago when demanding the country to introduce the west democratic values in the country immediately. Today, the West countries attempt to correct their own mistakes and to find way out of the current situation," a guest from the United Kingdom said.

"Nobody should repeat other's experience even if this standard is the best one. We can see that even the best standards can challenge immediate aversion. The Uzbek government warned not to copy the west models of democracy and first of all to take into consideration mentality and custom of local population," Lev Vershinin, Head of the analytical department of Israeli Institute on the East Europe and CIS countries, stated. Vershinin said that Uzbekistan has taken range of steps to promote freedom of mass media, cancelled censorship and liberalized mass media legislation recently.

"The workshop in Tashkent was implemented by the Institute on study of citizen community jointly with the Regional Policy Fund and National Centre on Human rights of Uzbekistan. However, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and Soros Foundation did not take part in the workshop as its was initially planed by the European Union.

There are 1,031 mass media departments in Uzbekistan and 1/3 of them were founded by private and non-state organizations. The mass media share, founded with participation of state capital, made up 66% and 17% was founded jointly with private and non-state investors.

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