Media and Internet
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?”
Official Uzbek media keep downgrading Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon regime by reprinting online critical articles written by journalists who are, in fact, perfect “Uzbek state enemies.”
Nowadays, apart from finding disadvantages and ‘assisting’ in postponing the construction of the Roghun project in Tajikistan, Uzbek media representatives decided to impose themselves as ready-to-analyze independent online sources on the search for as much information as possible that tells of the Rahmon’s regime’s failures and lies.
One of them, Tashkentskaya Pravda (Tashkent Truth) allowed itself to publish an article from Paruskg.info website, which refers to Wikileaks information, entitled, “Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.”
Shamsullo Gulov, author of the ‘kompromat’ starts with calling Wikileaks a “famous web site” that gives opinions of U.S. State Department employees regarding Rahmon’s family seizing control over main industrial and financial facilities in the counrty. Later on, the author says that the information provided by Wikileaks are “concrete facts.”
Well, first of all, the fact of using Wikileaks as a source of information is something out of reality for Uzbek media since Wikileaks itself, based on American diplomatic cables, called Karimov an “authoritarian leader” and linked his regime with the Uzbek mafia. Read the full story »
The beginning of 2012 has become quite progressive for Uzbek media. First change: Newspapers of Uzbekistan that used to publish in an A4 format are now being published in an A3 one. The reason — new standards and technical requirements.
Second change: Newspapers that belong to official governmental agencies are now 30% more expensive than in 2011.
Of course, there are explanations justified enough to be acceptable. But, I am going to use this opportunity to think the way a regular reader presumably would. Read the full story »
Uzbek Novosti Uzbekistana (News of Uzbekistan) newspaper has published an article, entitled “Arab Wind Over the Kazakh Steppe” (issue #51 of December 23, 2011).
Author mentions about 15 people killed in riots, as well as emphasizes that use of force “will make the wound deeper.”
Experts, some of whom see Ablyazov’s hand in this, and of course through Respublika nespaper, Kanal+ TV channel and Svoboda Slova (Freedom of Speech). Moreover, the cheesy “how-were-rally-participants-able-to-sustain-for-seven-months?” argument was also used to emphasize Ablyazov’s and Rakhat Aliyev’s participation.
To make this short, experts agree with the fact that Kazakhstan is on the threshold of a threat with symptoms of the Arab Spring. They develop it: social networks were used to gather people, while security services found external ties to the riot activists.
“Here comes the question: Who was dissatisfied by stability in Kazakhstan, and by its president Nazarbayev, who built up pretty equal relations in all geopolitical dimension?” the author, Oleg Stolpovsky wonders.
The fact that this publication is the first even in Uzbek press could have a message with it — the Uzbek censorship guys got sanctions to make Nazarbayev’s reputation of a successful leader and a winner in the Karimov vs. Nazarbayev struggle for leadership, drawn in the blood of revolutionaries. To the level where Karimov stands himself.
Almost apolitical and owned by a group totaly loyal to President Karimov and his daughter, the most tabloid of all the Uzbek tabloids and most lovable by housewifes and celebrity news followers, Darakchi magazine gives directions of how to access banned websites without keeping visitors’ records, e.g. their IP numbers.
Even though this short note is given in the end of the magazine, that is either something editor had not noticed and, relying on his staffers who know nithing but copy-pasting articles from other media, approved it for publication, or the responsible person did not find it as threatening national cyber-security.
On one hand, the author explains why using proxy servers is such a popular phenomenon — people around the world use those IT-tools to make sure their private info is not kept even after their visits to this or that page.
On the other hand, Uzbekistan is a country that practices tough censorship and those who want to read banned information have to either use proxy servers, or have a satellite internet connection that is not filtered by Uzbektelecom, a state-owned telecommunication company.
Apart from expensive and useless receptions and seminars on human rights theory for high school and university students and older generations, i.e. former Communists who did not know about human rights during Soviet times, the government of Uzbekistan is not really interested in spreading more information on human rights with its own people who do not attend schools and are not invited to fancy events like the one organized by the National Human Rights Center directed by irreplaceable Akmal Saidov, with participation of international guests.
Moreover, nobody in the government dares to even think about discussing real human rights situation in the Uzbekistan — “Interests of a human being are priority over anything,” or “Uzbekistan has ratified all six UN conventions on human rights” is the classic response to any sort of concerns regarding independent reports on human rights violations.
The article claims that the National Human Rights Center had participated in the expertise of more than 100 bills and 10 National plans of actions in the field of human rights.
The event, entitled “International treaties and Uzbekistan’s experience in the process of prefectioning of the national human rights and freedoms system,” became the main concluding event in the “Welcome-to-Uzbekistan-the-land-of-happiness-and-human-rights-protection” propaganda program for 2011.
To make the event seem legit, Mr. Saidov invited Ombudsman from Slovenia, representatives from the Danish Institute for Human Rights, National Center for Human Rights of Slovakia, Scottish Human Rights Commission, who talked about the role of human rights and the way Uzbekistan deals with “every single case of human rights violations.” Read the full story »
“I found these paintings, rolled up under the beds of old widows, buried in family trash.
These were forbidden works by artists who stayed true to their vision, at a terrible cost.”
– “The Desert of Forbidden Art”
A piece of documentary art, about forbidden art, has come to Central Asia – again.
The 80-minute long documentary of Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev (writers, producers and directors), “The Desert of Forbidden Art”, was screened on Friday December 9th, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the BACTRIA Cultural Center (ak. Rajabovih 15 Street) in Tajikistan’s capital city Dusanbe.
“The Desert of Forbidden Art”, a documentary that “takes us on a dramatic journey of sacrifice for the sake of creative freedom”, narrates how Russian artist Igor Savitsky– the virtuoso man of paint, archeology and collection, particularly of avant-garde art – rescued the forbidden work of fellow artists. Savitsky founded the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, an art museum based in Nukus, Uzbekistan (capital city of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, in northwest Uzbekistan). The museum opened in 1966 and hosts 82,000 items – comprising the world’s second largest Russian avant-garde collection (after the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg).
The story of the life of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is for sale in Kazakhstan.
Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, is Amazon’s top grossing book of the year – in both “print and Kindle editions combined” said The News. The book went on sale on October 24th, less than 3 weeks after Jobs’ death, and Business Press Network said that “In less than 2 months on the market, the book had become the online retailer’s best selling title of 2011.”
About this biography being sold in Kazakhstan, on December 15th, Central Asian News said:
“About 40 copies of the publication were sold out for the first few hours of sales. The applications for purchasing of the book come every 20 minutes. Bestseller is available as in the online store as in the non-virtual boutique in Astana, which was opened in September 2011.”
We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Best Blogger Award: Gulasal Kamolova (gulasal.wordpress.com) and Tashpulat Rahmatulaev (rtoshpulat.blogspot.com). Both are bloggers working in Uzbekistan. They are almost certainly known to many of our readers, Gulasal particularly for her videos of last year’s revolution in Kyrgyzstan and Tashpulat from his many articles with journalistic publications.
We at NewEurasia hear all sorts of rumors about the monitoring powers of the countries we observe and work in, but often we don’t really have a concrete sense about what they can and cannot really do. Well, earlier this month WikiLeaks released the Spy Files, a leak practically tailor-made for us. In my opinion, it could be their most substantive leak so far (I say that recognizing all the pros and cons that goes with such a statement), although with nearly none of the fanfare/hype that accompanied its earlier mega-leaks.
The Spy Files so far are constituted of 287 documents collected from 160 international intelligence contractors (no word on exactly how) over the last few years. The database is mostly sales brochures and PowerPoint presentations but apparently also includes internal documents of such companies like Gamma corporation in the United Kingdom, Ipoque of Germany, Amesys and Vupen in France, VASTech in South Africa, ZTE Corp in China, Phoenexia in the Czech Republic, SS8 and Blue Coat in the USA, our ever-reliable friends at Siemens, so on and so on. This industry is almost completely unregulated — and it’s quite a hydra.
Unfortunately, the Spy Files haven’t yet revealed anything about the Central Asian republics. However, we now know a little bit about our friends to the North. Russia has/had capabilities in sms monitoring, speech analysis, and phone monitoring, particularly mobile forensic analysis for smartphones and audio forensics (I should note that a lot of the information in question is a few years old, so what we do know is already out of date, but it suffices to give an unhappy idea). The tech comes to them courtesy of the companies Oxygen Software and Speech Technology Center, Ltd. No word yet on some of the really scare stuff that has been known to find its way into the occasional Russian nationalist hacker.
Have you gotten a “Friend Request” from O’zbekiston Respublikasi Bosh vaziri, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev on Facebook yet? His personal page has 1,818 Friends, explains him to be a 100% Conservative believer in Islam, interested in Women and Married, inspired by various Westerners politicians and so on. There are even some professional photos, both uploaded and tagged, on his profile. But is this all real?
To debate this – weather or not Mirziyoyev’s Facebook page is actually authentic – is pretty silly and ridiculous, considering Uzbekistan is a country whose press freedom and online activity regulations especially in terms of political interactions, are far from socially free and enjoyable… but lets enjoy examining the suspicious question of “to be (a real Facebook page) or not to be” anyway.
Read the full story »