Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Uzbek State TV Warning: Tattoos Cause Moral Damage

"People in their right minds fear them and describe them as immoral people," a Tashkent deputy imam tells the broadcaster.
"People in their right minds fear them and describe them as immoral people," a Tashkent deputy imam tells the broadcaster.
Tattooing is evil and creates "aggression and hostility in the mind of a human being," a voice-over says. As part of mass culture, tattoos are making their way throughout the country under the pretense of modernity was the general conclusion. 

This isn't a scene from an eerie dystopian film set in the future but rather part of a program broadcast on Uzbek state television's First Channel on February 20.

Over video footage of various individuals getting tattooed, the voice-over continues telling the viewer that "these" people wouldn't have tattooed their bodies had they been aware of the negative consequences of this "evil."

Besides the "moral damage" tattoos do, a doctor included in the program also tells viewers that tattoos have the potential to cause skin diseases, dermatitis, eczema, and contribute to the spread of AIDS.

While a risk of HIV transmission through the needles used in tattooing does exist if the instruments are contaminated and then not sterilized, such sweeping statements concerning the spread of the HIV virus are a result of a more widespread practice of stigmatization. 

Central Asia has a fast-growing HIV epidemic and, while Western NGOs are not allowed to operate in Uzbekistan, regional experts suggest that the government has in the past attempted to disguise, and failed to diagnose those infected with the virus.

During the program, a deputy imam of Tashkent, Jasurbek Raupov, also comments on the morality of those sporting tattoos. "People in their right minds fear them and describe them as immoral people," he tells the broadcaster.

This is certainly not the first time Uzbek television has broadcast a program or film bordering on the absurd.

Late last year "River Song," a feature film about the dangerous and addictive world of video games, depicted a young boy's descent into a world devoid of morals. 

-- Deana Kjuka
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: john from: canada
February 22, 2013 20:19
What would Uzbek TV say about Seattle woman Inga Duncan Thornell's mastectomy-covering tatoo:

by: CentAsiaObserver from: USA
February 23, 2013 17:46
I feel like every country goes through this phase of viewing tattoos as immoral or associated with some type of rebellion.

Does Karimov have any tattoos? According to this logic, he should have tons, since he is the one of the most corrupt and immoral politicians throughout the former Soviet Union.
In Response

by: Zoltan from: Hungary
February 24, 2013 14:34
I agree. The only question is when will the Uzbek people decide to remove him as Egyptians or Libyans did with their dictators?

Although it is true that they tried once in 2005. when Karimov responded with a massacre in Andijan.
In Response

by: Anonym
February 24, 2013 23:35
Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and others, look where they are now. Egypt has yet conformed a proper government, there is still blood shed on the streets. And other countries who have recently been through revolutions, you they have established a sense of "democracy" or even a hint of peace? Absolutely not! Uzbek people are living peacefully given the circumstances, you cannot live outside of Uzbekistan and critique the situation in there. Life in Uzbekistan is good, and improving as we speak. Unfortunately people like you are too blind to see the facts before making immature comments such as trying to overthrow the government. Uzbekistan is not as bad as you may think!

by: Chris from: USA
February 25, 2013 17:24
Bahahaha. Experts on psychology, I see. Consider your resources. Many places have regulations to prevent disease and tattoo artists are required to have a license. People have been getting tattoos for (how many thousands of?) years. Using the word "evil" in a news article reflects your lack of understanding on the subject. I'd like to see this article removed asap. It shows ignorance, which is the most dangerous contributor to many of our world's problems. Many people see it as a form of expression or therapy, which is widely considered healthy.

I have tattoos. My friends and relatives consider me of high moral value and I treat others with respect and kindness. Being educated in the subject your writing about is important.

Absurd is right.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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