Nestled in the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is a land where ancient silk roads wind through bustling bazaars, telling tales of a rich history. Yet, as the sun sets on the ornate minarets of Samarkand, a different narrative unfolds in the 21st century. This narrative is marked by struggles that mirror the complexities of transitioning from a Soviet past to a modern state, where the digital realm increasingly intersects with the quest for progress and control.

Freedom of Expression and Censorship

In Uzbekistan, the issue of freedom of expression is a canvas of contradictions. On one hand, the country has taken steps towards liberalization, particularly after Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed presidency in 2016, succeeding Islam Karimov. There has been a notable easing of restrictions on media and speech. Yet, journalists and activists often find themselves walking a tightrope. The government still holds a significant influence over media outlets, and self-censorship is common among journalists fearing reprisals.

Instances of internet censorship are not uncommon. Websites critical of the government are frequently blocked, and while there is no comprehensive internet censorship law, various legislations are employed to control online content. This control is justified as a means to combat extremism and protect national security, but it often blurs the line between security and suppression of dissent.

P2P and Torrenting Policies

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing and torrenting in Uzbekistan operate in a grey area. While there are no explicit laws banning P2P networks, their use is fraught with uncertainties. The government’s stance on copyright infringement is strict, and users indulging in torrenting risk facing repercussions, especially if it involves content that is politically sensitive or deemed harmful to Uzbek cultural values.

Government Surveillance

Surveillance is a significant concern in Uzbekistan. The government has invested in extensive monitoring capabilities, which include intercepting internet traffic and scrutinizing online activities. The use of surveillance technologies is often justified as a measure to combat terrorism and extremism. However, this has led to an environment where privacy is compromised, and citizens are often wary of expressing their views freely, especially online.

Internet Shutdowns and Restrictions

Uzbekistan has experienced instances of internet shutdowns and restrictions, particularly during times of national examinations to prevent cheating, and in response to security concerns. These shutdowns are indicative of the government’s approach to controlling the digital sphere, where maintaining stability and control often takes precedence over unrestricted access to information.

The reasons for these shutdowns are multi-faceted, often tied to the government’s desire to maintain control over information dissemination and prevent the spread of what it perceives as harmful content. However, these actions have significant implications for the freedom of access to information, impacting everything from education to businesses.


Uzbekistan’s journey in the digital age is a complex interplay of tradition, modernization, and control. The nation stands at a crossroads, balancing the desire for progress with a cautious approach to the freedoms and challenges brought by the digital era. As Uzbekistan continues to navigate these waters, the world watches, hoping that the country can find a harmonious balance between the preservation of its rich heritage and the embrace of a more open and digitally inclusive future.


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