A new report, “Central Asia: Censorship and Control of the Internet and Other New Media
,” examines efforts by authorities in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to censor on-line content and control internet use. It highlights regional initiatives that indicate increasing cooperation and coordination among these countries to restrict freedom of expression on-line.
Kazakhstan presents the most interesting case study. Despite promoting itself as an IT leader in the region, it currently blocks more than 100 web sites for allegedly containing “extremist” propaganda, according to the report. Uzbekistan
also figure prominently in the paper, but have unmitigatedly poor free speech records
and make little effort to disguise their pervasive systems of information censorship and control.
The report was issued this week by International Partnership for Human Rights, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights and the Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan.