CPJ conducts fact-finding mission in Ukraine
Muzaffar Suleymanov, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia Research Associate, traveled to Kiev on July 6 on a week-long fact-finding mission and spoke to more than a dozen local and international journalists about press freedom conditions in the country. Suleymanov also met with journalists who had covered or were covering the ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine.
This month, the prosecutor-general of Kyrgyzstan, Aida Salyanova, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that her office is working hard to fight corruption and ensure transparency in government activities.
We are not convinced.
New York, June 12, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by Bishkek City Court's refusal to open a new investigation into the case of Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and human rights defender who has been imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan since 2010 in retaliation for his work exposing wrongdoing. The court scrapped today an earlier decision by a lower Bishkek court, which had ruled that the journalist's case should be reinvestigated. Askarov's lawyer has said he will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, reports said.
New York, April 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists commends today's decision by Oktyabrsky District Court in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, to renew the investigation into the case of imprisoned journalist and rights defender Azimjon Askarov, who was imprisoned in 2010 in retaliation for his work exposing official wrongdoing.
Today, the U.N. Human Rights Committee begins its two-day review of Kyrgyzstan's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By ratifying the treaty in October 1994, Kyrgyz authorities pledged to enforce internationally recognized provisions regarding the protection of human rights, and freedom of expression, in their country.
But CPJ research shows that Kyrgyzstan has consistently violated ICCPR provisions. Attacks against reporters; impunity in journalist murders, including of journalist Alisher Saipov; blocking of the news website Ferghana News; the politicized prosecution of ethnic Uzbek media owners, including Dzhavlon Mirzakhodzhayev of Mezon TV and Khalil Khudaiberdiyev of Osh TV; and the ongoing imprisonment of investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov have marred the climate of press freedom in Kyrgyzstan.
While President Almazbek Atambayev urged the state council in March to enforce rule of law and guarantee the protection of human rights, he demonstrated little political will to bring about such changes. Authorities showed no intent to revive the Uzbek-language media that thrived in southern Kyrgyzstan prior to the June 2010 conflict, in which clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Broadcasting in the largest minority language remained limited--only one broadcaster produced news in Uzbek. While access to the independent regional website Ferghana News was restored by most Internet service providers, the Kyrgyz government failed to repeal the June 2011 ban that recommended the outlet be blocked in connection with its coverage of the 2010 conflict. As a result, fear remained that authorities could legally block the website at any time. In May, Atambayev signed a vaguely worded anti-extremism bill that his critics said could be used to target free expression on the Web. Three years after the 2010 ethnic conflict, injustice continued to impair press freedom and human rights. The Kyrgyz leader publicly declared his commitment to revisit the case of imprisoned reporter Azimjon Askarov, but no action followed: Prosecutors failed to investigate the case even after new evidence emerged in Askarov's defense.
After Jennifer Lopez performed at an event in Turkmenistan on Saturday night, the Guardian created a guide to the "-stans" so "no pop star need be caught out by accidentally singing happy birthday to a despotic ruler in this region ever again." The guide points to the fact that Uzbekistan was sixth on CPJ's list of the 10 most censured countries. The guide also links to our report on Azimjon Askarov, a journalist and human rights activist imprisoned in Kyrgyzstan on trumped up charges.
Kyrgyzstan has endured a turbulent past and continues to face significant challenges, but its leaders are committed to a democratic future, Djoomart Otorbayev, the nation's deputy prime minister, told human rights and press freedom advocates in New York this week. The country still grapples with the repercussions of the brutal June 2010 ethnic conflict that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced. Journalist Azimjon Askarov remains in prison on charges that CPJ and numerous human rights groups have determined to be in retaliation for his work in uncovering official abuses during the unrest.
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3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
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