Austria’s capital Vienna has hosted the 18th Central Asia Media Conference organized by the OSCE. A delegation from Uzbekistan also attended the event.
The conference title "The diversity of challenges to media freedom in Central Asia" ever better characterized its relevance not only for journalists, but also for society as a whole. As noted by participants in the forum, communications world is becoming more global, and we are witnessing how demonstration of extremism is intensifying in all parts of the planet. Under these circumstances there are some issues of awareness of their place and role in modern society, responsibility for the correct information to the public before the mass media.
Addressing at the conference we presented information on the present situation in our country and its development prospects for the foreign public. Certainly, the information related to the course and outcome of the elections of the President of Uzbekistan with which our people have linked their great plans and hopes for the future, caused particular attention of the conference participants.
We received broad support of participants and the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in the assessment of democracy in presidential elections conducted in our country. The report of a full-scale mission of the OSCE observers which monitored the electoral process at all stages, clearly proves that an honest, open and fair elections has been conducted in Uzbekistan.
The fact of announcement of 2017 as a Year of dialogue with the people and human interests on the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev arouse enormous interest and attention of the conference participants. They noted the formation of a strong momentum for the development of the national mass media in this context.
During the forum there was heard a lot of proposals how to make the mass media real participants of dialogue with the authorities, to use the potential of social networks to establish effective communication in society.
The information on the implementation of comprehensive measures aimed at ensuring the transparency of public authorities and management in our country is of great interest. According to participants of the conference, the practice of Uzbekistan on creation of the Public Councils on monitoring to ensure transparency of public bodies, the composition of the national rating "openness index" of government and management authorities, will advance Uzbekistan to the line of regional leaders in ensuring information transparency of state institutions.
Speaking about the prospects of development of national mass media and domestic journalism, we note the great attention of the state to the support of this sector. Benefits and preferences for the mass media, publishing and printing companies operating for several years can serve as an evidence of this. In addition, on the eve of the new year, according to the Decree of the President Shavkat Mirziyoyev "On the forecast of the main macroeconomic indicators and parameters of the state budget of Uzbekistan for 2017" dated December 27, 2016, privileges on the exemption from certain types of tax payments are extended to January 1, 2019.
There is formed a legislation meeting the global democratic standards in the field of media regulation in our country. Its regulations reliably protect the economic basis of activity of the domestic mass media, professional activities of editorial offices of the mass media and journalists, and provide the conditions for the effective participation of mass media in public life as an important institution of civil society.
Speaking at a joint session of the Oliy Majlis on December 14, 2016, the President of our country Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced the country's development strategy for 2017-2021 years. The head of our state noted that the draft of the document will be published for public discussion. The whole professional community of journalists needs to get involved in the discussion of this program and make suggestions. This document of strategic planning of the prospects for our country’s development in the short and medium-term should have to also contain a set of measures aimed at developing the national mass media, enhancing their role in society, improving the measures of state support of their activities.
The realization of these large-scale reforms enables us to further evolve the information sector, the unconditional implementation of civil rights to freedom of expression and access to information guaranteed by the constitution of our country.