Mr. Ulugbek Kurbanbaev,
Agency for information and Mass Communications,
Information Policy Department, Head of Devision
The freedom of speech of every uzbek citizen is clearly defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Human rights protection is impossible without freedom of speech. The 29th article of the Constitution indicates “everyone shall be guaranteed freedom of thought, speech and convictions. Everyone shall have the right to seek, obtain and disseminate any information except that which is directed against the existing constitutional system and some other instances specified by law.
Freedom of opinions and their expression may be restricted by law if any state or other secret is involved. “
In addition, today in the draft of updated Constitution, there is also a special emphasis on freedom of speech.
Indeed, a person’s freedom of speech and expression is wonderful, but we should not forget about obligations in this regard. Here it would be appropriate to use the phrase “your rights end where the rights of nothers begin”, which has been relevant in the French Empire since the 7th century.
Because freedom of speech cannot restrict or violate the legally protected rights and interests of another person.
Today, the Internet and its audience are growing faster than any other media. Any information on the World Wide Web, whether positive or negative, is vigorously discussed in the community. In this process, it is necessary to prevent the propaganda of ideas of war, violence and terrorism, religious extremism, separatism and fundamentalism, the disclosure of information constituting state secrets, the incitement of national, racial, national or religious hatred, as well as the dissemination of information discrediting the honor and dignity of the state.
“Well, how to be in such cases?!” – we answer the question like this:
There are more than 20 legal documents regulating the information sphere in Uzbekistan, which are constantly being improved based on the requirements of today at the initiative of the Agency for Information and Mass Communications and adopted by the highest state bodies.
Article 12-1 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On Information” defines the procedure for disseminating information that can be freely used by everyone on the Internet, as well as a list of information that is not subject to distribution.
For example, calling for violent changes in the existing constitutional order and territorial integrity of the Republic of Uzbekistan; dissemination of false information that threatens public order or security; propaganda of war, violence and terrorism, as well as religious extremism, separatism and fundamentalism; disclosure of information constituting state secrets or other legally protected secrets;
dissemination of information inciting national, racial, ethnic or religious hatred, as well as discrediting the honor and dignity of citizens or business reputation, allowing interference in their private life; dissemination of information indicating disrespect for society, the state, state symbols, including foul language; propaganda of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors, propaganda of pornography, violence and cruelty, as well as incitement to suicide, etc.
Instead, administrative and criminal liability is provided for the dissemination of such information. But there is another side of the matter. We know that the number of Internet users today is increasing from year to year, and the level of information dissemination is increasing. Naturally, it will be difficult to hold accountable every source that disseminates information that is contrary to the law.
Based on my experience in the information space, I can say that fake information spreads much faster and more widely than correct information. Because when preparing false information, information that gets on people’s nerves or expresses people’s wishes is widely used. As a result, the dissemination of false information can have all sorts of bad consequences, the impact of misinformation by various forces and groups, fake news using various manipulative methods, as well as attempts to harmonize public positions and control subsequent actions.
I believe that it is more appropriate to prevent the spread of such false news than to lay the responsibility for the above circumstances on anyone who spreads false news. In the legislation of the country, the procedure for eliminating inaccurate information or illegal information is specified in the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated September 6, 2018 No. 707 “On measures to further improve information security in the global Internet network”.
This decision establishes the procedure for sending a notification to the owner of the site, site and (or) messenger page, as well as to the blogger about the removal of information prohibited by the legislation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
This practice is used in many countries around the world. For example, in 2009 in France, HADOPI laws were adopted in this direction, according to which the practice of restricting access to the site and pages on social networks of persons who violate the law is applied, and imposing certain fines on them. In the Republic of Uzbekistan, fines are not applied, on the contrary, the owner of the website, website and (or) page of the messenger and the blogger are notified about the removal of this information in the text of comments left by the site users.
We can say that the Agency for Information and Mass Communications constantly cooperates with online media and bloggers. In turn, online media and bloggers will respond promptly to notifications sent by the Agency, and identified shortcomings will be eliminated.
“@stop_criminal_bot”, “@stopnarko_bot” and “@StopNarkotikUzBot” were launched in the Telegram messenger by the Agency for Information and Mass Communications together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs in order to prevent violations and combat illegal content in the information space.
It should be noted that in the course of monitoring appeals received from citizens to the Telegram bot channel “@stopnarko_bot”, the Agency deleted 851 out of 987 channels and accounts that acted illegally in the Telegram messenger in January-June of the current year (86% of the total content volume).
Mass media and citizens contribute a lot to these achievements. Because, without remaining indifferent, by notifying the relevant state authorities about cases of violation of the law, illegal activities that may take place on the Internet are stopped.
In conclusion, we can say that only if we all, from citizens to government agencies, work together and cooperate, we can prevent the spread of illegal information.