Uzbekistan slightly improves in the World Press Freedom Index to 165th among 180 countries. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) noted that still much has to be done in Uzbekistan for the press freedom adding that the president Shavkat Mirziyoyev has promised to improve the human rights situation. Well-known detained journalists have been freed and the signs of a thaw are growing.
But at least three journalists and bloggers, including two who were arrested in 2017, are currently detained and the announced release of five others has not been confirmed. To judge by the accounts of former detainees, torture is still being used. Official criticism of the former repressive apparatus has begun to loosen some taboos. Leading independent news websites are still blocked in Uzbekistan.
Released each year by the international organization RSF, the index ranks 180 countries/territories according to the freedom that it allows to journalists based upon the organisation's own assessment of the countries' press freedom records in the previous year. It intends to reflect the degree of freedom that journalists, news organisations, and netizens have in each country, and the efforts made by authorities to respect this freedom.