What's the Latest Development?

Government cultural authorities in Uzbekistan have barred a number of popular musicians from performing their work live, branding the content of their songs "meaningless". "Singers Dilfuza Rakhimova, Otabek Mutalhozhaev and Dilshod Rakhmonov, along with groups Ummon and Mango, found themselves out in the cold after the state agency responsible for licensing cultural acts concluded their music failed to properly extoll the motherland, the Central Asian website Fergana News reported." One exception to the crackdown is the President of Uzbekistan's daughter, a pop singer in her own right. 

What's the Big Idea?

The ban on "meaningless" pop music demonstrates the cultural arm of Uzbekistan's totalitarian government which, after gaining independence from the Soviet Union, has been ruled by President Islam Karimov since 1991. "His regime consistently ranks among the world’s most brutal and repressive dictatorships, with an 'atrocious' human rights record replete with 'endemic' prison torture, persecution of religious believers and the silencing of expression, Human Rights Watch says. Karimov has been particularly criticized for his violent crackdown on protesters in the city of Andijan in 2005, when witnesses said hundreds were killed."

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