Kyrgyzstan court rejects investigative outlet Kloop’s appeal against liquidation

Lawyers, officials, and others attend a hearing at Bishkek City Court to consider Kloop’s appeal against liquidation on May 17.

Lawyers, officials, and others attend a hearing at Bishkek City Court to consider Kloop’s appeal against liquidation on May 17. (Screenshot: Kloop na russkom/YouTube)

Stockholm, May 20, 2024—The Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday called on Kyrgyzstan to allow the country’s leading investigative news site Kloop to resume work and stop using the courts to silence critical media, following the rejection by a city court of Kloop’s appeal against a liquidation order.

“The court’s rejection of Kloop’s appeal against its liquidation because of a minor administrative error only confirms that Kyrgyzstan’s leadership has no answer to Kloop’s corruption exposés besides muzzling one of the region’s most dynamic and probing media outlets,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Kyrgyz authorities should let Kloop resume work and President Sadyr Japarov should see the country’s traditionally vibrant media sphere as an asset, instead of working to systematically suppress it.”

On May 17, Bishkek City Court refused to consider Kloop’s appeal on the grounds that the outlet sent its appeal to the wrong house number and thereby missed the appeals deadline, according to news reports. The decision renders effective a February 9 lower court ruling liquidating Kloop Media, a nonprofit foundation that runs the Kloop news website, which had been suspended pending appeal.

Kloop’s lawyer, Nurbek Sydykov, told CPJ by messaging app that courts in Kyrgyzstan generally grant deadline extensions in the case of such errors.

Kloop’s co-founder Rinat Tuhvatshin told CPJ by telephone that Kloop accidentally put the wrong building number for the Ministry of Justice — they wrote 39, instead of 32 Molodaya Gvardiya Street — but he was sure the ministry received the appeal and was simply using the mistake as a pretext to reject it.

He said Kloop planned to challenge the court’s decision but this might only delay by a few weeks the appointment of a court-appointed administrator to execute the liquidation ruling.

Authorities applied to shutter Kloop, a local partner of global investigative network Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), last August and blocked its website in September, amid a series of investigations into relatives of Japarov and other top officials. Prosecutors said that Kloop Media’s charter did not list media activity as one of its statutory activities and Kloop’s “purely negative” coverage was causing widespread psychological illness, drug dependency, and a “suicidal disposition” among the population.

Under Japarov, Kyrgyz authorities have launched an unprecedented crackdown on independent reporting in a country previously seen as a regional haven for the free press. In January, police arrested 11 current and former staff of the investigative outlet Temirov Live, another partner of OCCRP, and raided the privately owned news website In April, Japarov ratified a “foreign agents” law that could be used to target media outlets and press freedom groups.

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