Leadership: President Islam Karimov, first elected in 1991
How Censorship Works: No independent media outlets are based in Uzbekistan. Independent journalists – mostly contributors to outlets outside the country – are subject to interrogation and prosecution under defamation charges or outdated statutes such as "insulting national traditions." They and their families are harassed and smeared; some have seen sensitive personal information published by state media. Muhammad Bekjanov and Yusuf Ruzimuradov of the opposition newspaper Erk have been imprisoned longer than any other jailed journalists in the world, CPJ research shows. Internet access to independent news websites and online broadcasters is blocked, as are some keywords and topics on individual Web pages. Foreign journalists are denied visas and accreditation.
Lowlight: Karimov's own nephew, the critical independent journalist Dzhamshid Karimov, vanished in 2006 after visiting his mother in the hospital. His friends eventually discovered that he was being held against his will in a psychiatric clinic, where he remained captive until November 2011.
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