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Majlis Podcast: Uzbekistan In The Spotlight For The Wrong Reasons


Blogger Miraziz Bazarov arrives at a hospital after he was beaten by a group of unidentified men in Tashkent on March 29.

Since 2016, when Uzbekistan's first president, Islam Karimov, died, the authorities have been working to change the image the country inherited from Karimov as a chronic rights abuser.

There have been some signs of progress but starting in late February, things began to fall apart.

A group trying to register as an opposition party was harassed and some of its members attacked; activists trying to form the country's first independent labor union came under pressure; calls for changing laws against the LGBT community were flatly rejected and met with violence; and a new law was introduced making it a crime for bloggers and others to insult the honor of President Shavkat Mirziyoev on the Internet, less than half a year before he is due to run for reelection.

On this week's Majlis Podcast, RFE/RL media-relations manager Muhammad Tahir moderates a discussion on the regression in Uzbekistan's declared domestic reforms.

This week's guests are: from Uzbekistan, Dilfuza Kurolova, human rights lawyer and founding curator of Global Shapers' Tashkent Hub; also from Uzbekistan, Dilmira Matyakubowa, co-director of Uzinvestigations and a fellow at the London-based Foreign Policy Center; veteran Central Asia watcher Steve Swerdlow, who is a rights lawyer and currently associate professor of the practice of human rights at the University of Southern California; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.

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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change.

Content draws on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad.

The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.

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