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  • Date: 3-05-2023, 12:30

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: RISKS AND CHALLENGES FOR JOURNALISTS IN KYRGYZSTAN

 3-05-2023, 12:30    Category: English, Reports & Researches, News


WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: RISKS AND CHALLENGES FOR JOURNALISTS IN KYRGYZSTANAuthorities and society should make efforts to keep independent media existing in Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, any attempts to toughen control over media and censor content should be abandoned in the first place. 

The trends demonstrate that the freedom of speech gets worse in the last five years. 

Experts of the School of Peacemaking and Media Technology emphasise that dynamics of risks of journalist activity has changed considerably in five years. 17 incidents against media workers were reported in 2018, 49 incidents in 2019, 102 incidents in 2020. Their number declined to 44 in 2021, and the number of attacks increased significantly in 2022.

 

According to analysis and documentation of attacks/threats against media workers in Kyrgyzstan, 130 incidents were reported in 2022[1], which is three times more than last year.

 

Chart 1. Dynamics of reported attacks and threats from 2018 to 2022

Legal mechanisms are used as the key method of pressure on journalists, bloggers and media workers.

 

In 2022, the number of detentions, arrests, questionings increased as a result of publications in the media, as well as the number of calls of journalists and bloggers for interviews as witnesses.

 

Threats and online attacks like trolling, bullying, cyber-attacks, including during live broadcasting on social media, are the risks for media workers.

 

Professional activity and safety of investigative journalists, who shed light on corruption, cover other sensitive topics and demonstrate opposing views in their reports, are at serious risk.


The criminal case against investigative journalist Bolot Temirov and his deportation from Kyrgyzstan last year, arrest and criminal case against blogger Yrys Zhekshenaliev and similar cases confirm these concerns.

 

Chart 2. Number of incidents reported in 2022 by categories Blocking of websites of Azattyk Media, ResPublica, attempted blocking of the website of the news agency 24.kg in 2022 on formal grounds, based on the law "On fake (false) information” is the result of the legislation expanding the powers of authorities to have control over the media landscape.


The new draft law "On mass media” brought up for public discussion contains such risks. It requires re-registration of all media outlets, imposes restrictions on funding from abroad, and provides for sanctions for unclear "abuse of freedom of speech.”

 

On the World Press Freedom Day, we demand that the authorities encourage independent journalism, pluralism, diversity of media and abandon pressure on this fundamental human right.



[1] Ongoing monitoring, analysis and documentation of incidents and media risks are held by experts of School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in CA and Justice for Journalists Foundation, 2017 -2023, https://jfj.fund/risk-map/


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