Uzbek Interior Ministry statement threatens journalist Agnieszka Pikulicka with prosecution over LGBTQ reporting

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04/06/2021

On March 28, Pikulicka, a freelance correspondent for Al-Jazeera and The Guardian based in Tashkent, the capital, visited LGBTQ activist Miraziz Bazarov, who was hospitalized after being beaten earlier that day, the journalist told CPJ in a video call. Police investigators who were present at the hospital shouted at her and told her not to talk about the attack on Bazarov, Pikulicka told CPJ. Later on March 28, she tweeted about the injuries Bazarov sustained; Pikulicka frequently posts reporting on her Twitter account, where she has about 2,900 followers. On April 1, the Press Service of the Ministry of Interior issued a statement accusing Pikulicka of spreading “negative and unobjective information” about Uzbekistan in her tweets and violating the country’s media laws. If charged and convicted under the laws cited in the ministry’s statement, Pikulicka could face a fine of up to 24.5 million Uzbek soums ($2,300) and the loss of her accreditation, according to the law “On the Protection of the Professional Activity of the Journalist” and the law “On the Principles and Guarantees of the Freedom of Information.”

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