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Uzbek Internet Cafes Closed Early To 'Protect' Youth

A decree came into force in Uzbekistan's capital, Tashkent, on February 25 requiring Internet cafes and computer clubs to close by 9 p.m.

The decree, which was issued by the Tashent mayor's office on February 18, also bans minors from being in Internet cafes during school hours and requires those youths using such facilities at "late hours" to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The new regulation is designed to stem the spread of "violent and immoral" content on children.

The decree said Internet cafes and computer clubs were having a "negative impact on underage youth" and were part of the reason for the "growing incidence of violence committed by minors."

Uzbek officials have been criticized for many years by human rights groups for blocking websites critical of the government.

Based on reporting by AFP and