APRIL 27, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Marina Kozlova, United Press International

The Foreign Ministry denied press accreditation to Marina Kozlova, Tashkent correspondent for United Press International (UPI).

Kozlova worked as a journalist in Uzbekistan for 10 years and was officially accredited by the Foreign Ministry from 1998 to 2003, first as a correspondent for the Russian weekly Obshchaya Gazeta and since 1999 as a correspondent for UPI. Kozlova faced repeated harassment in retaliation for her reporting on the mistreatment of journalists, human rights abuses by police, and torture in Uzbek prisons.

The Foreign Ministry, which is responsible for accrediting correspondents for international news agencies, first denied accreditation to Kozlova in November 2003. The decision obstructed her ability to report on political developments in Uzbekistan by barring her from attending presidential, parliamentary, and foreign ministry meetings and press conferences.

UPI sought accreditation on her behalf again in February 2005, but Foreign Ministry press secretary Ilkhom Zakirov told Kozlova on April 27 that the ministry would not accredit her because she does not have a journalism degree.

The Foreign Ministry’s Web site does not list a journalism degree as a requirement for accreditation. It cites only one criterion for denial or suspension of accreditation: breaking the law. When CPJ contacted Zakirov by telephone on May 4, he would not provide any information about the accreditation process nor would he explain the decision against Kozlova. The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the United States did not return numerous phone messages seeking information.