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Uzbek President Endorses Amendments To Media Law

President Islam Karimov (file photo) (epa) January 16, 2007 -- President Islam Karimov has endorsed amendments to the country's media law that tighten officials' already powerful grip on the press, according to reports in Uzbekistan's state-controlled media.

The revamped legislation came into force on January 15.

Among other things, it bars legal entities with significant foreign ownership from establishing media outlets in Uzbekistan -- specifically, those in which foreign investors hold at least a 30-percent stake.

Uzbekistan has tightened its grip on independent media since a May 2005 military crackdown to quell unrest in the eastern city of Andijon.

Western governments and rights groups consistently accuse Karimov's administration, which has dominated political and public life since independence from the Soviet Union came in 1991, of denying access to the media to political opponents.