As headlines go, this one might not look especially exciting; “What Can We Expect from the Liberalization of the Foreign Currency Market?”
But the article, by respected economist Yuliy Yusupov, became an instant sensation when it was published January 17 by the Uzbekistan-focused online business news outlet Kommersant.uz.
Tight official controls over currency and trade — and the flourishing of a black economy in both these areas — had made the subject off-limits for any local media in the days of the late President Islam Karimov. Thus, it is no surprise that the January 17 article touched off a flurry of social media chatter among Uzbek news consumers.
The appearance of the piece offers evidence that, slowly and tentatively, some news outlets in Uzbekistan are dabbling with easing their policy of self-censorship on sensitive topics. Yusupov said he was initially approached by Kommersant.uz to write the article, but that they were surprised by the boldness of what they got back.
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