Multiple internet providers in Uzbekistan have restored access to international NGOs Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, as well as news sites Deutsche-Welle, Voice of America, Fergana, EurasiaNet and Centre1 according to NetBlocks internet measurement data collected between Friday 10 and Saturday 11 May 2019.
Report: Network data confirm #Uzbekistan's internet providers have restored access to @Amnesty, @HRW, @RSF_inter, @DWnews, @EurasiaNet, @FerganaRU, @centre1_com, @AmerikaOvozi and @VOANews. However, @Ozodlik Radio remains blocked #KeepItOn 📈https://t.co/onAHHuewSK pic.twitter.com/02DNXC7Sbt
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) May 11, 2019
The new findings are based on an extensive survey consisting of 2000 network measurements taken from 20 vantage points across Uzbekistan covering 8 internet service providers. Data confirm reports that the sites have become available, and shows that implementation is partial, with some providers still blocking Radio Ozodlik, the regional media outlet for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
The sites are understood to have been restricted across Uzbekistan for several years, and have been largely unavailable since systematic record-keeping began. Network data indicates that the BBC Uzbek edition was already available through the primary BBC website, which was not found to be blocked during the study.
Internet access and filtering has been a topic of discussion in Central Asia through recent days after Kazakhstan blocked social media platforms and news sites for several hours on 9 May, Victory Day.
Today’s restoration has been welcomed by the international community. Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, also said he had raised the matter with Uzbekistan authorities:
Welcome unblocking of media & info websites in #Uzbekistan that I raised with authorities: @VOANews, @AmerikaOvozi, @bbcuzbek, @dwnews, @amnesty, @hrw, @RSF_inter, https://t.co/mTeFT5emfY, AsiaTerra, @ferganaru, @centre1_com, @uzmetronom. Hope RFE/RFL site will be unblocked soon
— OSCE media freedom (@OSCE_RFoM) May 10, 2019
News archives suggest this is not the first time the websites have been restored; many of the same services were temporarily made available in February 2018:
Internet performance and service reachability are determined via NetBlocks web probe analytics measurements. Each measurement consists of latency round trip time, outage type and autonomous system number aggregated in real-time to assess service availability and latency in a given country. Network providers and locations enumerated as vantage point pairs. The root cause of a service outage may be additionally corroborated by means of traffic analysis and manual testing as detailed in the report.
NetBlocks is a civil society group working at the intersection of digital rights, cyber-security and internet governance. Independent and non-partisan, NetBlocks strives for an open and inclusive digital future for all.