(August 27, 2019)

By Jane Tillman Irving,  President, New York Press Club

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of meeting with journalists from Uzbekistan who were traveling in the United States on a State Department-sponsored reporting trip focusing on press freedom.  The government of Uzbekistan has recently relaxed its restrictions on the press, and journalists there are still learning to produce news content for their audience.  At this time, about 70% of media outlets are connected to the government and 30% are private.

Abdujabbar Umarov is the CEO of Marifat Media, the founder and publisher of an independent newspaper whose title translates to “Enlightenment.” He describes the two-year-old paper as a serious publication with a circulation of 1500, which is considered large.

U.S. State Dept. Foreign Press Center

Shahnoza Ravshanova is an editor and reporter for “Yoshlar,” the government-sponsored youth television channel, whose target audience is between the ages of 16 and 30. She says there is censorship and that “the government is afraid of religion,” wanting to present Uzbekistan as a “modern, secular” country.

They were particularly interested in the New York Press Club’s advocacy for journalists, our continuing fight for access to news events, our Gabe Pressman Truth to Power Award, and other First Amendment activities.

Featured photo  from left to right: Aazam Abidov, interpreter; Shahnoza Ravshanova, television reporter; Jane Tillman Irving, NYPC President (wearing a scarf in the Uzbeki ikat pattern, presented to her as a gift by the Uzbeki journalists); Abdujabbar Umarov, newspaper publisher; Nuriddin Shuxratovich, cameraman.