Uzbekistan: Singers face ‘national values’ checks

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Professional singers in Uzbekistan have been told they must provide quarterly reports on their appearances or face losing their performing licences.

A new government resolution says that at the moment too many songs and videos fail to conform to Uzbekistan’s “age-old spiritual and cultural values and national traditions”. The government has ordered the Uzbeknavo performing rights authority to tighten up licensing after accusing it, the national broadcaster, internet regulators, and the culture ministry of allowing performances “that can have a negative impact on the moral upbringing of the younger generation”.

The document also stipulates that from now on singers and bands must perform for the regulator once a year, so that it can determine their future work opportunities,the Gazeta.uz website reports.

The authoritarian government of President Islam Karimov has often complained about performers aping Western styles like rap, or wearing skimpy costumes. The latest order makes things more difficult for singers in a country where the possession of a performing licence often appears to depend on personal behaviour. In the past, Uzbek singers have reportedly lost their licences for travelling abroad without prior permission, or for not taking part in the country’s annual cotton harvest.

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