New East Digital Archive

Uzbekistan authorities condemn “shameless” singer

Uzbekistan authorities condemn “shameless” singer
(Image: Aziza Niyozmetova / Facebook)

29 April 2016

Uzbeknavo, the Uzbekistan state agency overseeing the domestic music industry, has condemned popular singer Aziza Niyozmetova for what it describes as “shameless” clothing, and has threatened to revoke her performance licence.

An official letter to Ms Niyozmetova informed the singer that officials would determine whether she “has adhered to ethical norms [...] hasn’t insulted the audience’s feelings, [and] has respected the national mentality, values, and culture”. The letter was signed by Uzbeknavo head Farhod Juraev, nicknamed by many performers as the “Minister of Singers”.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe, Ms Niyozmetova stated that she was summoned due to a selfie recently shared on social media that shows her wearing a sleeveless dress holding a bouquet of flowers in front of her.

“As it happens, that photo has shocked the officials [...] only my shoulders are showing in this photo,” Ms Niyozmetova said, noting that the authorities described her clothing as “shameless”.

It has been speculated that comments by Ms Niyozmetova, in which she defended a female Uzbek singer who had been criticised for poor Uzbek language skills, may have played a role in her situation.

In Uzbekistan, performers are required to obtain a licence to be able to appear on television and radio, as well as at events such as weddings. While there is no official dress code or code of conduct for performers, it has been reported that certain local singers have lost their performing licences for offences such as travelling overseas without prior permission or refusing to entertain cotton pickers during Uzbekistan’s annual cotton harvest.

Source: Radio Free Europe