UZBEKISTAN: New Decree gives legal basis to existing censorship
Books and other materials encouraging individuals to change their faith or which, in the state's opinion, "distort" religious canons are now specifically banned under a sweeping new censorship Decree, Forum 18 News Service notes.
The Decree, which came into force on 27 January, gives a legal basis for the severe state restrictions on production, sale, distribution and import of religious materials which has existed since Uzbekistan's harsh 1998 Religion Law. Returning pilgrims – such as from Mecca – will have their literature seized for checking.
Further punishments seem likely to be introduced. Officials of the State Religious Affairs Committee – which implements the compulsory prior state censorship – and the office of Deputy Prime Minister Adkham Ikramov – who is supervising the Decree's implementation – refused to discuss its provisions with Forum 18.