I am sincerely glad to congratulate and express my deep respect and good wishes to all of you and the veterans of the Press and Mass Media Workers Day.
Your professional holiday this year is taking place on the eve of the great, most dear date for all of us - the 30th anniversary of the independence of our Motherland, which gives it a special meaning and significance.
As you know, in recent years, at the end of reforms aimed at building a new Uzbekistan, fundamental changes are also taking place in the field of information.
Our people, the public know well and highly value the hard work of journalists and bloggers, publishers and editors, translators and artists, directors and cameramen, technical workers who conscientiously fulfill their tasks in press, on television and radio channels, publishing and printing enterprises, the Internet-sites, information services.
Taking advantage of this opportunity, I express my deep gratitude to everyone who is in constant creative search, who strives to reveal the essence and significance of important changes taking place in our society, new ideas and initiatives, promptly and objectively transfers information from the epicenter of events - for your invaluable contribution in the development of the country.
Today, regular meetings of heads of governing bodies of all levels with representatives of the media, journalists, as well as a broad discussion in the form of an open dialogue of topical issues related to the life of the state and society have become traditional. We consider this approach to be one of the most important directions of the policy of openness, transparency and democratization being pursued in Uzbekistan, and we will decisively continue this course that meets our national interests.
Considering this, increasing the role and influence of the media in society, the effectiveness of their activities, strengthening the material and technical base and personnel potential, all-round stimulation of the work of employees in the field is a priority for us.
It should be noted that over the past four years, in order to strengthen the relevant regulatory and legal framework, 12 acts of legislation were adopted, the media sphere and the system of information services are being radically updated.
In support of this, I will present some figures.
Today, significant changes are taking place in the activities of the national television, which will celebrate its 65th anniversary this year. The new modern platform («Over-the-top») of the National TV and Radio Company of Uzbekistan, which unites 26 TV and 16 radio channels with round-the-clock broadcasting, allows central TV channels to broadcast programs throughout the country and in more than a hundred countries of the world, and actively operate in social networks.
It is noteworthy that the number of non-state electronic media, newspapers and magazines, publishing and printing houses is growing.
A particular importance is attached to strengthening the communication of the authorities and management with the public. In particular, the government agencies regularly hold press conferences and briefings, open conversations on the progress of reforms in our country, the implementation of national programs and strategies.
If in 2019 the information services of state and non-governmental organizations had 559 of their official websites and channels in social networks, the figures reached 2410 in 2021.
The establishment of a mechanism for prompt response to critical statements in the media, expression of opinions and positions through the information services of ministries, departments and governors offices yields positive results. Thus, if in 2018 the rate of response of government agencies to critical materials was 12%, then by the end of 2020 it was about 90%.
The recently adopted Decree «On additional measures to ensure the openness of the activities of state bodies and organizations, as well as the effective implementation of public control» will help bring this work to a new, higher level.
Today, the electronic media, in particular, internet journalism are increasingly becoming part of our lives. Thus, there are 1,893 registered mass media in the republic, while 638 of them, or 33.7%, are websites of Internet publications.
Along with this, another important step in ensuring freedom of speech and press in our country was the exclusion of the human factor from the process of registration of mass media, which is now carried out in electronic form.
The training of highly qualified personnel for the field remains in the center of our constant attention. There is a University of Journalism and Mass Communications of Uzbekistan, the training of journalists began at the Tashkent State University of Oriental Studies, the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages.
Today, in the era of digital technologies, the process of updating the mass media in Uzbekistan, as well as all the social and political institutions of the country, is underway.
The generations, creative schools, ideas about the profession and the tasks of the media are changing. The Internet age demands new requirements and rules. Currently, the national journalism, while gaining a lot of experience, is facing some difficulties, and we must think about how to overcome them.
I am convinced that the preservation of the best mass media achievements and traditions gained over the years, strict adherence to the principles of the rule of law and objectivity, respect for the honor and dignity of a citizen, his/her right to an independent opinion, as well as high professionalism will always be the main criteria of your work.
I think, to achieve these goals, a number of initiatives put forward by the Creative Union of Journalists of Uzbekistan will be of a great importance, in particular, holding a Scientific and Practical Conference «National Journalism: Continuity of Traditions and Modernity» with the participation of young journalists, bloggers and mass media staff, organizing discussions on «School of Journalism of Uzbekistan: Creative Heritage and Traditions», «Society and Mass Media», «Journalistic Ethics», as well as workshops and creative contests.
It is no secret that due to the difficulties of the transition period, a number of our print media are now in a difficult financial situation. In this regard, we support the proposals of the Creative Union of Journalists of Uzbekistan, which recently elected its new leader, on a comprehensive discussion of this issue together with the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Agency for Information and Mass Communications, chief editors of high-profile newspapers and magazines of the Republic, and on the development of an appropriate program of measures.
In this document, along with practical measures to support the print media, it is also advisable to envisage the issues of wider implementation of market economy mechanisms in the sphere, qualitative improvement of the content and increasing the attractiveness of publications, effective use of existing opportunities to ensure their competitiveness in the information space.
At the same time, important tasks for us are to improve the legal framework of the sphere and protecting the professional activities of journalists, strengthening the dialogue between the state and society, and establishing real public control. In particular, in the Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Administrative Responsibility, it is necessary to strengthen the norms providing for liability for the commission of actions by officials of state bodies and organizations that impede the work of the media, the establishment of censorship, illegal interference in their activities, pressure on editorial staff, illegal seizure from them materials and necessary technical means.
I would like to emphasize that we will continue to pay a special attention to further deepening the processes of democratic renewal in the country, support by the state and society in the media sphere in order to increase the effectiveness of their activities, and comprehensive stimulation of the work of journalists.
Dear mass media workers!
Once again, I congratulate you on your professional holiday, wish all of you a sound health, peace, prosperity and further successes in your responsible and honorable work.
the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan