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Activists Criticize Uzbekistan On Journalists

The Andijon unrest on 14 May (epa) Prague, 27 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The media advocacy group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is criticizing the harassment of foreign media in Uzbekistan.

The New York-based group issued its statement after the BBC World Service on 26 October said it was immediately closing its Tashkent office and withdrawing staff because of continued harassment and threats since its reporting of the 13 May bloodshed in the city of Andijon.

The CPJ statement called on Uzbek President Islam Karimov to stop harassing the BBC and other media in retaliation for reporting on Andijon.

The statement said that in recent weeks, Uzbek authorities have initiated a "smear" campaign in state-run media accusing journalists from the BBC, Deutsche Welle, the Associated Press, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty of organizing "informational attacks" against Uzbekistan.