For months state-run media propaganda in Uzbekistan has warned about the supposedly detrimental effects of foreign media and culture on young people. Now President Islam Karimov’s administration seems intent on trying to legislate morality.
On July 9, the Uzbek Agency for the Press and Information, the government body responsible for regulating media outlets, announced that "in cooperation with interested state and non-state organizations" it had drafted a bill that would protect minors from information deemed harmful to their "physical and spiritual development."
Citing vaguely similar legislation adopted in the United States and in EU countries (mostly relating to pornography), the Uzbek agency's chairman, Amanulla Yunusov, claimed that adopting laws against the distribution of print, audio and video material, as well as computer games, "promoting violence, cruelty, drugs, pornography and other harmful information" would enable Uzbekistan to comply with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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Murat Sadykov is the pseudonym for a journalist specializing in Central Asian affairs.