State Department spokesman Michael Tran has issued a statement on the impending slander trial in Uzbekistan of VOA stringer Abdumalik Boboev:
"We are deeply concerned by the arrest and impending trial of Mr. Boboev, as well as its implications for media freedom in Uzbekistan. Mr. Boboev has been an independent journalist for Voice of America for more than five years, and his indictment cites articles that he wrote during this period.
"We have been in contact with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, we have raised the issue with the Government of Uzbekistan, and will monitor the case closely."
VOA issued a statement last month expressing deep concern over Boboev's fate. VOA Director Danforth Austin said, "Mr. Boboev, like all VOA journalists, is required to present accurate and balanced reports, and he should not be penalized for doing his job."