OCTOBER 26, 2005
Posted: December 2, 2005
The Associated Press
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
The BBC World Service closed its Tashkent office and withdrew staff because of continued harassment by authorities because of its reporting on the May 13 massacre in the northeast city of Andijan. Other local and foreign media have been intimidated since the killing of between 500 and 1000 anti-government protesters by troops.
Since September 2005 authorities have carried out a smear campaign in the state media accusing journalists from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, The Associated Press, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) of organizing “informational attacks” against Uzbekistan and trying to use the protest in Andijan to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic state, according to local press reports.
BBC correspondent Monica Whitlock left Uzbekistan in June and another six BBC staffers have followed her since being threatened and harassed by authorities, the BBC said.
The Uzbek service of RFE/RL has documented more than 30 cases of attacks against its journalists, including Nosir Zokirov who was imprisoned in August for six months on a charge related to his reporting on Andijan.