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Uzbekistan raises alarm over 'social network bomb'
by Staff Writers
Tashkent (AFP) July 11, 2012

Uzbekistan's state television denounced social networks like Facebook and Russian equivalents as dangerous weapons, saying they are being used like nuclear bombs to brainwash Uzbek youth.

A TV documentary aired late Tuesday on Uzbekistan's second main channel Youth TV raised alarm that the "social networks has now become the weapon of the third columns", comparing them to machine guns and nuclear bombs.

Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country, where 90 percent of almost 30 million inhabitants are Muslim.

The secular government, wary of both religious extremist ideology and "excesses of Western democracy", has in recent years shown increasing impatience with cultural imports from abroad.

"It is not a secret now that social networks have been the weapon of third columns during the all colour revolutions which happened in recent years," the documentary said, referring to the uprisings in the former Soviet Union and Arab World.

"The Internet is now a weapon of the future, leaving machines guns and nuclear bombs in history," the narrator warned, adding that more and more young Uzbeks were becoming victim of the harmful information.

Over 130,000 people in Uzbekistan use Facebook, while users of its Russian-language rival Odnoklassniki have already exceeded two million, the documentary said in a worried tone, showing erotic images posted on Facebook and Odnokalssniki accounts.

The documentary urged young people to use homegrown social networks such as (similar to Facebook) and (similar to Odnoklassniki).

However, it admitted that Uzbek social networks lacked attractiveness, interactivity, news and information.

The first Uzbek language social networking site (Dialogue), registered last year but was criticised by Internet users for denying access to anonymous users. It has now around 22,000 members.

Uzbek authorities worry that Facebook and Odnoklsanniki are hubs for the activities of Uzbek opposition and human rights groups.


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