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Tashkent journalist receives death threats over critical article

(CJES/IFEX) - Tashkent journalist Iskander Arifzhanov received death threats over an article he wrote for "Birzha" newspaper criticizing Ravshan Normuradov, the head of the joint stock company 93 Mahsus Trust, despite the fact that the article was never published.

In March 2010, the journalist proposed as a story idea to his editor an article criticizing Normuradov. The article, which defended the interests of ordinary shareholders, contained information on violations of the legislation on joint stock companies. The article did not contain any criticism of the republic's administration.

Arifzhanov said that the paper's administration initially praised him for the article. Later, the journalist was asked to provide documents confirming the information included in the article, and then the paper's administration started delaying its publication under various pretexts. The article never got published.

Arifzhanov said Normuradov called him on his mobile phone and threatened to "bury" him if he criticized him again.

"Normuradov could have only received the text of the article and personal information about me, including my phone number, from the newspaper 'Birzha'," said Arifzhanov.

"He may also have had access to the documents provided by me to the editorial office. In this case, the object of criticism has received access to all information possessed by me, including indirect sources of information. That means that the administration of the newspaper 'Birzha' cynically and openly violated all written and unwritten norms of journalistic ethics," Arifzhanov said.

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