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In Uzbekistan, speculation swirls as president out of sight

The following is a CPJ blog post:
By Muzaffar Suleymanov/CPJ Europe and Central Asia Research Associate

In the most tightly controlled countries, the media is told what they are allowed to report on and what topics are taboo. Anything related to the leader's health or his family is generally in the latter category. The resulting information vacuum can lead to rumors and uncertainty.

Last summer, for example, Ethiopian citizens and international media were left wondering about the well-being of then-Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who disappeared from the public eye for weeks. With a severely decimated independent press and the government's unwillingness to comment on the issue, the country and the Internet were filled with unsubstantiated reports that Zenawi was hospitalized or even dead. (After two months of secrecy, the government finally announced his death in August, but gave no detail about the nature of his illness).

Read the full story on CPJ's website.