The BBC is on the verge of restarting its operations in Uzbekistan after an absence of nearly 12 years, suggesting a possible thaw in relations between the Uzbek government and the international media.

Yesterday the BBC's Uzbek service announced its search for a multimedia correspondent — who must be fluent in Uzbek, and preferably have knowledge of Russian and English — to cover events not only in Tashkent, but across Uzbekistan.

The BBC closed its office in Uzbekistan in October 2005, after journalists faced harassment and intimidation by the authorities. While the position of the Uzbek government towards the international press has always been cautious, this relationship became particularly fraught after the Andijan massacre in May 2005, when troops fired into a crowd of protesters, leaving hundreds dead.

In April this year Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov stated that his agency was considering the BBC's application for accreditation in Uzbekistan — the organisation's recent recruitment drive suggests that the ministry has given the green light.

 

Source: Asia-Plus (in Russian)

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