Uzbekistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia with a population of 26 million and capital city of Tashkent and is a former member of the Soviet Union. To the south is Afghanistan. 
The government tightly controls the media and no real opposition to the government exists internally. According to a UN report, the use of torture in Uzbekistan is "systematic". 
The BBC says of the country's media:
- Despite a constitutional ban on censorship and guarantees of press freedom, media rights body Reporters Without Borders said in 2007 that "arrests, internment and blocked websites" were routine for journalists. In the aftermath of deadly unrest in the eastern city of Andijan in 2005, reporters were expelled from the area and foreign TV news broadcasts were blocked. The BBC's coverage of the uprising led to the closure of the corporation's bureau in Tashkent some months later.
- Pre-publication censorship of the press by the state was abolished in 2002, but self-censorship is widespread. A 2007 law holds media bodies responsible for the objectivity of their output. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists says many Uzbeks rely on foreign sources - including Russian TV, the BBC and other broadcasters - as a counterpoint to the stifled domestic news media.
Examples of PR activity in Uzbekistan
- Yvonne Davis of DAVISCommunications traveled to the country as part of the U.S. State Department Speakers Program and spoke about public relations to college students. From the website of the U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan:
- In September, U.S. Embassy Tashkent welcomed guest speaker Ms. Yvonne Davis, who traveled to Uzbekistan as part of the State Department Speakers Program. Ms. Davis, who is the President and CEO of DAVISCommunications, visited Uzbekistan for 5 days for a series of speaking engagements. She spoke to audiences on topics ranging from leadership for women, achieving one’s dreams, public relations (PR), and business ethics.
- Ms. Davis also had the opportunity to speak to over 70 local university students while she was in Uzbekistan. As a businesswoman that runs her own public relations firm, she spoke to them on a topic that is near to her heart, Public Relations in Business. She drew the students into the discussion by offering well-known examples from her own business experience, including her work with American hip hop artist Puff Daddy.
- Ms. Davis said after the event that she was impressed by the Uzbek students, commenting that she had not expected that they would already know so much about public relations.
- In 2006, a group of Russian public relations specialists paid a visit to Uzbekistan to meet with some of Uzbekistan's experts in the field. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on the visit:
- Under Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union had "engineers of human souls," writers whose task it was to instill a staunch belief in the building of a glorious communist future.
- What was once the Soviet Union is today a more pragmatic place, where moneyed elites have no truck with the glorious future but a deep-seated interest in the perpetuation of the status quo. The new engineers are "political technologists" -- and their task is to keep the cogs and gears of authoritarian "managed democracy" whirring from predictable election to predictable election behind a presentable public-relations facade.
- It was somehow fitting that a visit to Uzbekistan by a group of Russia's most prominent specialists in political public relations should coincide with the first anniversary of a treaty that established a new alliance between the two countries.
- The message that emerged from the discussion as reported by press-uz.info was clear: The state must remain in firm control; democracy is whatever political system is described as democratic by an individual state in line with its officially recognized national traditions; outside involvement in internal affairs is unwelcome; and, finally, foreign media coverage that deviates from these postulates is not objective.
Related SourceWatch articles
- ↑ Uzbekistan, National Geographic, accessed January 2008.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Country profile: Uzbekistan, BBC, accessed January 2008.
- ↑ Addressing Public Relations and Business Ethics to University Students, Embassy of the United States: Tashent, Uzbekistan, accessed January 2008.
- ↑ Daniel Kimmage, "Russia/Uzbekistan: Bringing Political Systems 'Closer Together'", Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, November 22, 2006.