On June 21, the Chilanzar District Criminal Court brought the CEO and founder of the Kun.uz publication Mahsudjon Askarov to administrative liability under Illegal production, storage, import or distribution of religious materials charge, the publication itself said.
The administrative case was opened following the religious examination of materials of religious content as part of an Internet monitoring conducted by the Main Office for Anti-Terrorism and Extremism of the Interior Ministry.
According to the publication, some stories aroused suspicion and were sent for review to the Committee on Religious Affairs under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan.
The examination concluded that said stories do not call for an unconstitutional change, the seizure of power, the creation of an Islamic state and setting up of a caliphate, the spread of extremism, separatism and fanaticism, slanderous, destabilizing fabrications. Also, the examination found that there is nothing in the stories that promotes national, racial, ethnic or religious enmity, Kun.uz noted.
Based on the expert opinion, the court found that the head of Kun.uz had committed an offense under Article 184-2 of the CoAO and fined him to 12.25 million soums, or USD 1,100.
The Kun.uz's editorial office notes that it is cooperating with the expert group.
“In terms of the fact that the majority of the Uzbekistan population are Muslims, Kun.uz conducts interviews with imams officially appointed by the Muslim Board of Uzbekistan in order to help reduce social problems, domestic and family conflicts,” the editorial office said.
The publication acknowledged that it is responsible for abiding by the laws in the country on an equal basis with everyone, and reported that in the future any stories and news on religious issues will be published only after the religious expert check by the Committee on Religious Affairs.