Courts for the media, sentences for journalists, jails for bloggers, bans for citizens! –

Freedom of speech to the trees of Yntymak Park

The authorities, through the actions of the information policy department of the presidential administration, determined who will be able to use the articles of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic on freedom of speech and pluralism of opinions. On April 1, a community work day will be held and trees will be planted in the capital’s park. There will also be an alley of “freedom of speech” as part of an environmental project. Planted trees, symbolizing “freedom of speech” in a particular part of the country, will be able to freely express their opinions and not be afraid of punitive consequences.

At the same time, trials against Azattyk Media continue, blocking the organization’s website and accounts. Troll factories unleashed a campaign of harassment against independent media, journalists and bloggers on social networks. Civil activists are fined for posts and statements. Taalaibek Duishenbiev, CEO of Next TV, was sentenced for republishing the material to five years in prison with a probationary period of three years. Bolot Temirov, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan, was expelled from the republic.

The independent media community offered assistance and support to the state many times, covering the country’s position in the tragic Batken events, informing the international community about the real state of affairs in the border regions, providing objective information about the situation in education, healthcare, ecology, economy and society.

Independent media assisted government agencies in the development of legal documents, participated in the inventory of legislation, for the sake of establishing a dialogue, they joined the working groups on the bills “On the Mass Media” and “On Non-Commercial Non-Governmental Organizations”. Conducted round tables, debates and discussions with their developers.

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However, the media bill put forward by the administration of the head of state threatens the existence of independent media and freedom of speech. The draft law “On non-profit non-governmental organizations” and a package of legislative initiatives by MP Nadira Narmatova are trying to create discriminatory norms for public organizations and the media. The current Law “On protection against inaccurate/false information” makes it possible to stop the activities of the media without any legal proceedings.

The information policy department of the presidential administration, which is authorized to create conditions for freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan, will be able to fulfill its duties when:

– will accept the proposals of the media sector regarding the draft law on the media;

– accept proposals from civil society regarding the draft law on NGOs;

– will contribute to the introduction of amendments and additions to the Law “On protection against inaccurate/false information”;

– will help stop the practice of pressure on the media, journalists, bloggers, civil activists;

– will contribute to the cessation of the activities of troll factories in social networks;

– call on the judiciary to change unfair decisions.

The independent media community will welcome such steps on the part of the authorities, which will restore freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan.

Freedom of speech, guaranteed by the Constitution and international obligations of the country, must exist throughout the entire territory of the state at any given time. And not only on one alley of the park on April Fool’s Day, April 1.

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“Platform for Action of the Media of Kyrgyzstan”
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