Authoritarian Uzbekistan has temporarily barred a popular singer from performing after videos circulated online of her singing in high-heeled boots, nude leggings and an oversized shirt.
Artistes in the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan can only perform with a licence from the government, which is accused of trampling basic freedoms despite also undertaking some reforms.
“The singer Kaniza has recently published videos on social media in which she behaves obscenely, contradicting behavioural ethics, promoting immoral ideas and offending viewers,” said Uzbekconzert, the government institution responsible for licensing, said Monday.
Kaniza’s agent told AFP the singer had “simply sang two songs at a restaurant opening.”
Her suspension is a “one-month warning so she has time to reflect and draw the right conclusions,” the culture ministry told AFP.
“If in one month she says she has understood and promises not to post such videos again, then her (licence) application will be considered,” it added.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who came to power in 2016, has promoted reforms unthinkable under his predecessor, an infamous rights abuser in the ex-Soviet region.
His government, however, remains authoritarian and restricts freedom of expression.