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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Uzbek media stay silent on violence
News sellers in Tashkent
Uzbek papers provide patchy coverage of Andijan

Uzbekistan's state media is making no reference to the aftermath of the clashes and alleged massacre of protesters in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan.

Radio channels carried their scheduled programmes, including classical music concerts and hourly news bulletins - but with no mention of the events in the Fergana Valley.

The country's two main TV channels similarly continued airing their scheduled programmes.

Just as on Sunday, both BBC World and CNN were not accessible from cable providers in the capital, Tashkent.

And while Russian channels on cable were available, their news bulletins were still being replaced with adverts or other programming.

Websites blocked?

Ferghana.ru, a Russian-language website which provides up-to-date reports from the region, and some other sites did not appear to be accessible through local internet providers.

When the opponents of the present regime enter Tashkent, nobody will phone Moscow, because in Andijan yesterday they buried any hopes they had for Russia
Nezavisimaya Gazeta

And observations from Tashkent suggested that some providers had cut off access to the BBC News website.

A technician at one provider, contacted by the BBC, said that many sites were being blocked.

"I cannot guarantee you access to this site," he said, referring to BBC News website.

"This is being done by a higher provider."

However, a Tashkent subscriber with a different operator was able to access the site, suggesting that individual providers in the city were adopting different policies.

'Missed opportunity'

Newspapers in Central Asia generally do not appear on Mondays, but the situation in Uzbekistan has attracted some comment further afield.

A commentary in Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta condemned "the methodical destruction of civilians by their own government" and said President Islam Karimov was "engaging in stupid self-deception by giving assurances that the situation is returning to normal".

The social and political upheaval in Uzbekistan shows that former Soviet countries are still failing to create political, social and economic stability
Kompas

It also accused Moscow of missing an opportunity.

"The Central Asian republics, terrorised by their own authorities, are the only ones to whom the relatively liberal regime in Russia remains attractive," it observed.

Moscow's failure to take up a request by the Andijan demonstrators to mediate was thus "a gross mistake", it said.

"When the opponents of the present regime enter Tashkent, nobody will phone Moscow, because in Andijan yesterday they buried any hopes they had for Russia."

Muslim perspective

In Turkey, which has close cultural and linguistic links with Uzbekistan, a writer in Zaman dismissed the Uzbek authorities' assertion that the protests were organised by Muslim extremists.

"The secular authoritarian regime is not struggling against radical Islam," it said.

"The people who rushed out onto the streets were moderate Muslims, more like those in Turkey than the Taleban."

Newspapers elsewhere in the Muslim world were similarly hostile to the official line.

In Indonesia, Kompas said the protesters were expressing "disappointment and frustration with the power of the repressive Karimov".

"The social and political upheaval in Uzbekistan shows that former Soviet countries are still failing to create political, social and economic stability," it added.

In Pakistan, the Pakistan newspaper described "the mass killing in Uzbekistan" as "a matter of grave concern" and called on the international community to act.

The Islamist daily Islam, meanwhile, hailed "the uprising of Muslims against their communist rulers".

In a reference to Uzbekistan's role in the US-led war on terror, it added that "we hope the dual standards of the US and the West will help promote this awakening in the region".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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Reports of violence and shooting in Andijan



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