TASHKENT: Uzbekistan on Friday approved a new law on what bloggers can post online, further tightening Internet restrictions in the tightly-controlled Central Asian republic.
President Islam Karimov, who has been in power since the collapse of the Soviet Union, signed a law banning content deemed to back the overthrow of the state or spreading religious extremism.
The law also prohibits any posts that could be perceived as "defaming the honour and dignity" of individual citizens and warns authors against promoting drug use or pornography.
According to the new legislation bloggers are now "obliged to check the accuracy of the information" before publishing it online and must immediately remove the piece if its "unreliability" is proved.
The legislation sparked heated debate among bloggers and social network users in the ex-Soviet country, but local media reported government officials as saying that the measures do no more than bring Internet use in line with existing media laws.
The move further solidifies the government's control over the media in a country that is often criticised for tightly controlling society and tolerating no dissent.
Earlier this year local media also reported that the government had introduced new regulation increasing surveillance in Internet cafes across the country of over 30 million people.
Presidential elections are scheduled in Uzbekistan next year. Karimov has not publicly named a successor and indicated in May he wanted to stay in his role. — AFP
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