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Art Is Not Slander

Uzbekistan -- Photo by Umida Akhmedova, "Women and Men: From Dawn to Dusk"
Uzbekistan -- Photo by Umida Akhmedova, "Women and Men: From Dawn to Dusk"
The Paris-based International Association of Art critics (IAAC) has launched a campaign in defense of Uzbek photographer and documentary film maker Umida Akhmedova. The open appeal, signed by nearly 1000 writers, artists, academicians and journalists from over a dozen countries, is addressed to Uzbekistan's Interior and Foreign ministries, foreign governments and international human rights groups, and calls on Uzbek authorities to respect the country's laws and the universal right to freedom of expression.

"It is important to mention that freedom of expression is one of the key criteria of any state governed by the rule of law. Judging any artwork should be done by experts and viewers and not by forces of any official organs. Art is not equal with social and political journalism and cannot be viewed as a “document” in legal sense, therefore it cannot be an agent of “slander,” the appeal reads.

"Photographs of Umida Akhmedova possess obvious artistic value and are considered as Central Asian cultural asserts by international professional community. The government should be proud of the creativity of the talented photographer and not threaten her with criminal persecution."

Akhmedova is accused of insulting and slandering Uzbekistan on the basis of photos she took for the project, “Women and Men: From Sunrise to Sunset,” which was produced with the support of the Swiss Embassy in Tashkent.

Click here to read the appeal.