Image of Kyrgyzstan as freest country in region is fading

Internews Revive Senior Project Manager Aisuluu Tekimbaeva noted at a round table on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day and the protection of human rights and freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan that the situation with freedom of speech is not just a matter of concern. Independent media are under unprecedented pressure.

According to her, one of the facts of pressure is the decision of the Leninsky District Court of Bishkek to shut down Azattyk Media as a media outlet.

«Freedom is the main resource. Criticism should be a tool for conducting an effective policy for the authorities. But instead, there are attempts to limit society’s access to versatile, objective information. The presented draft laws «On Mass Media» and «On NGOs» indicate that the authorities do not hear the independent voices of experts, lawyers and representatives of the media community,» said Aisuluu Tekimbaeva.

UN Resident Coordinator in Kyrgyzstan Antje Grawe added that the restriction of freedom of speech can lead to sad consequences and slow down progress.

False information can undermine trust. But it is necessary to fight this not by imposing bans and censorship, but by increasing media literacy.

Therefore, the UN Committee called on the authorities of Kyrgyzstan to review their media policy and stop attacks on freedom of speech through unpopular laws.

Antje Grawe recalled that all UN states are obliged to comply with international treaties and conventions to which they are parties.

Source: 24.kg News Agency