Censorship in arts: Banned Uzbek singer can’t travel outside of the country
Feruza Jumaniyozova, distinguished Uzbek performer, who was deprived of her licence in 2010 for performing in the neighboring Tajikistan without the Uzbek authorities’ permission, was not allowed to leave the country. And again, the reason was her plans to perform for her fans in northern Tajikistan.
Djumaniyozova, who is originally from Khoresm region of Uzbekistan, is quite popular among Farsi speakers for her songs in Persian.
According to TojNews, on June 7 Djimaniyozova was going to perform in Khujand along with Daler Kuttuzov, popular Tajik singer. However, she had to apologize to her fans and cancel the performance due to the ban of Uzbek authorities to travel to Tajikistan. The reason was that the Uzbek authorities took away all her travel documents to make the trip impossible. In Uzbekistan, it’s super easy.
Uzbekistan is one of a few countries in the whole world with the so-called ‘exit visa’ rule — in order to leave Uzbekistan nationals should get an exit-visa sticker, which is such an archaic phenomenon still in practice in Uzbekistan.
But the thing is that those considered ‘not-trustworthy-enough,’ e.g. human rights activists, members of political opposition, journalists, artists, are banned from traveling abroad. Yes, even artists! Sometimes officials’ simple denial to issue an exit visa sticker disables banned person to perform in Uzbekistan and even to implement the dang-your-ban-I-will-perform-abroad approach.
As Uznews.net reminds, the ban has affected the most popular Uzbek performers such as singers Yulduz Usmanova, Sherali Jurayev, the Yalla band and comedian Obid Asomov. The authorities “took offence” because they often performed in other countries, which in the former thought was “unpatriotic.” At the same time, the list of banned performers is expanding constantly.
Current Uzbek-Tajik relations are not even close to normal (here’s one of the reasons why?). In today’s world, culture is considered a stronger tool in building and enhancing relations between nations.
Popularity of an Uzbek singer in other countries of the region and in Tajikistan in particular, and vice versa, is a proof that public diplomacy works, especially when it’s not in the hands of people with diplomatic passports.
Unfortunately, Uzbek officials prefer prohibition method rather than public diplomacy.