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Uzbekistan: Bloggers stand for Umida Akhmedova

Categories: Central Asia & Caucasus, Uzbekistan, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Photography, Protest

GV has already covered a story of the Uzbek documentary photographer Umida Akhmedova [1], accused of insult and slander against Uzbek people and traditions. This fact caused indignation among local and foreign journalists, photographers and Internet users.

At the moment, more than 600 people from various countries signed the online petition [2] “Protest and Anger”, initiated by the International Coalition of Journalists “Caucasia”. Vibrant discussions of the topic are also taking place among bloggers.

Ivanivanch writes [3] (ru):

The Uzbekistan authorities are well known for their inadequacy towards journalists, photographers and even tourists, although my friends say that common people of Uzbekistan are very nice (…) After the whole situation around Umida Akhmedova, I realize that stories about the natives – as well as all rumors about the Uzbek officials – are true.

Many bloggers condemn authoritarian actions of the state bodies. Kinobomj is much more outspoken [4] (ru):

I am shocked, why idiots from the government always try to shut the artists’ mouths? I express my protest and I ask my friends to do the same – or, at least, pay attention to the situation.

Responding to this, vikarasik [5] [5] writes [4] (ru):

(…) the authorities are too far from the people. And if they want to knock someone down, nothing will prevent this.

Blogger mulioshka [6] [6]thinks that Umida's problems can be related to the issue of ethnic minorities in Uzbekistan – a topic, which the authorities always tries to avoid discussing. She writes [7] (ru):

While studying ethnography of Uzbekistan, the issue of the territory where native Tajiks live – and which was given to the Uzbek republic in Soviet times – automatically appears.

Many believe that the main reason for prosecution of photographer Umida Akhmedova is her active civil position. Albatrossdoc writes [8](ru) that Umida Akhmedova and her husband Oleg Karpov (director of Tashkent Film Museum) were way too active for Uzbekistan – making films, photos and showing social topical movies in the Film Museum.

Albatrossdoc guesses that there could be people, who didn’t like it. The Museum has been closed for the last three months and no official explanation was given.

Having a look at Umida’s pictures one can see that she makes photos of the ordinary Uzbek people. Many of them live in poverty – and many are in desperate poverty. Blogger kambodjaa [9] [9]says this was the main reason for persecution [10] of the photographer (ru):

Great photos. But on some of them one can see what exactly is the most disturbing thing for the patriarchal-authoritarian society. It is clear why they charge her.

All Photos by Umida Akhmedova, from photopolygon.com