Closing of Internet Cafe in Uzbekistan. For whom is this necessary?
Jan 6, 2006
Salex Yaxyaev, Samarqand
A free internet cafe in Samarqand hasn't opened its doors for a few weeks. Half a year ago, the OSCE provided funding for five computers to have a connection to the worlwide web for local mass media workers. Gayane Oganova, a telejournalist, reports:
For half ayear local journalists were able to use free Internet which the OSCE provided. It was a huge help. We were sure that at any moment we can go there and find information that interested us. You know, we still aren't on the save level that every journalist has a personal computer and internet access at home.
The OSCE project in Uzbekistan operated three such internet-cafes for journalists: in Tashkent, in Nukus, and in Samarqand. All these were registered as independent NGOs. The Samarqand internet-cafe, for example, was registered under the Samarqand department of the national press center. According to the director of this press center, Toshpulat Rakhmatullaev, it was necessary to temporarily stop the the activity of the Internet-cafe in connection with the self-liquidation of the organization. In the past months the majority of NGOs have stopped their activities in Uzbekistan, including those that acted as internet cafes for journalists. According to an announcement of the information agencies, all internet cafes supported by the OSCE have temporarily suspended their operations.
Simultaneous self-liquidation of 10 NGOs, among which the majority of organizations were working with jouranlists (including the journalist club "Reporter" in Buxoro and the NGO "Rennaissance" in Nukus, suggests it is not a coincidence. One way or another, but for now it is unknown, what will become of the internet cafe and computers connected through the support of OSCE.