Concerning non-admission of a Correspondent of “Qalampir” to an Open Court Session

23 - January, 2020

Yesterday, on January 22, information was circulated that the correspondent of “Qalampir” was not allowed to attend an open session of the Tashkent Regional Criminal Court.

Article 19 of the Code of Criminal Procedure establishes the rules for open trial of criminal cases in courts. In particular, it is noted that the criminal proceedings in all courts are open, with the exception of cases when this is contrary to the interests of protecting state secrets, as well as when cases of sexual crimes are considered.

In the courtroom, sound recording, photographing, video recording and filming are allowed only with the permission of the chairperson of the court session, as a result of which an appropriate determination is made.

The introduction of additional requirements restricting the principle of open trial of criminal cases in courts is prohibited, except as expressly provided for by this Code.

According to the above norms, it follows that obtaining a separate permit to participate in open trials is not required. Based on the general rule, everyone is entitled to participate in open court hearings, regardless of professional affiliation, including journalists. The special permission of the chair of the court hearing is required only if the journalists intend to make audio recordings, video or photography.

The fact that the correspondent of the “Qalampir” website was not allowed to attend a meeting of the Tashkent Regional Criminal Court precisely because of his professional affiliation against the background of reforms aimed at moving freedom of speech in Uzbekistan to a new level causes our concern.

Emphasizing the fact that, according to Article 5 of the Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Protection of the Professional Activities of a Journalist,” media workers, in carrying out their professional activities, have the right to attend public court hearings, we hope that such cases will not be repeated.

Public Foundation for Support and Development of National Mass Media

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