As of 1 July 2017, singers in Uzbekistan will require state permission to post their music videos on YouTube, and risk losing their performance licence if they do not adhere to the proposed legislation. The new law is an extension of a governement resolution in 2015 that required professional singers to provide evidence that they conform to the country’s “age-old spiritual and cultural values and national traditions”.
The enactment of the new law was confirmed by Radio Ozodlik (the Uzbek-language branch of RFE/RL), after rumours spread on social media. The law is being passed “to prevent the dissemination of music videos that do not correspond to national traditions and the mentality of the Uzbek people”, according to a representative from the Uzbekkonsert arts council.
The rule was announced in light of recent discussions around songs whose content drummed up particular controversy. One example was Munisa Rizayeva’s song Sakramento, the video for which was described by cultural commentator Fakhritdin Ismatov, in conversation with Eurasia.net, as being “made in slavish imitation of Spanish culture” and “inappropriately Hispanicised”. Another example was Dilfuza Ismoilova’s song to President Mirziyoyev, entitled May The Sultan of this Beautiful Land Prosper, which was deemed unethical by Uzbekkonsert for its dedication to the head of state.
The announcement not only points towards growing state censorship across Central Asia, but it also threatens to destabilise the growth of the music industry, which relies heavily on the financial incentives of these music videos. As Dildora Nishanova, a showbiz journalist, states: “Making music videos is an expensive business. The cost of one video ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. Pulling the videos could ruin the artists.”
Source: Radio Ozodlik (in Uzbek)