Uzbekistan has unblocked at least eleven foreign add local independent websites that had been inaccessible for over a decade, including, Deutsche WelleEurasianet, Fergana News, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, AsiaTerra, Centre 1, Reporters sans FrontieresBBC’s Uzbek Service and Uzmetronom, according to CA-News.  

The websites were unblocked as part of efforts by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to open up Uzbekistan after years of isolation.

In mid-April, Harlem Desir, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)’s representative on Freedom of the Media, called on Tashkent to stop blocking mass media in order to provide people’s access to socially important information.  

The websites were accessible as of May 10 after "technical" issues were resolved, Komil Allamjonov, head of the Uzbekistan Information and Mass Communications Agency, wrote on Facebook.

Fergana News confirmed that it and the other websites could now be reached within the country, citing its own reporters in Uzbekistan.

However, both Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and its Uzbek Service, locally known as Ozodlik, remain inaccessible.

Mr. Harlem Desir welcomed the decision on Twitter, adding that he hoped the website of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will also be accessible soon.

Uzbek authorities had started blocking the sites after hundreds of people were massacred by security forces during unrest in the city of Andijan 14 years ago.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev was elected as President of Uzbekistan in 2016 after the death of the country’s first president, Islam Karimov.