Time to strengthen freedom of press and speech in Kyrgyzstan

On May 4, in a joint statement, a number of human rights and media organisations – among these, Civil Rights Defenders – urge the provisional government in Kyrgyzstan to implement several measures to strengthen freedom of press and speech in Kyrgyzstan.

–    The situation of the freedom of expression in Kyrgyzstan has worsened during the last few years. The media have been censored and journalists have been threatened, beaten and even killed. We are worried that the new provisional government will continue in the same track as the previous government and use the media to promote their own power at the expense of the rights of the people, says Robert Hårdh, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

In the aftermath of the disturbances on the 6th and 7th of April, when President Bakiyev was removed from power, a number of positive steps has been taken to strengthen the freedom of expression.  Among other things, radio stations that were closed down by the previous government have been reopened, and investigations have been initiated to inquire into the former government’s taking over of newspapers and a news agency.

–    The international community must show continued interest in what is happening in Kyrgyzstan. It is an unsettled country in an unstable region, and as long as the people cannot exercise their fundamental human rights, it will not develop in a positive way, says Robert Hårdh.

The organisations signing the statement are worried that the provisional government of the country is not really interested in promoting free media but that it is rather a question of wanting to limit the influence of the previous government on the media.

The signers of the statement demand that the provisional government and eventually the new government take a number of measures to strengthen the freedom of press and expression in Kyrgyzstan. Every single threat and each attack made on journalists, including the murders of journalists, must be thoroughly investigated; the perpetrators must be placed under arrest and tried in court.

In addition, the existing legislation promoting freedom of press and expression, for example, the law regulating the right of access to official information, must be completely implemented. It is of vital importance that the new constitution of the country, which will be prepared during the next few months, contains express guarantees of freedom of press, expression and the right to access official information.

Statement on media freedom in Kyrgyzstan pdf

Categories: Statements.
Tags: Freedom of expression.
Regions: Kyrgyzstan.