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Police officers are seen in Koi-Tash, Kyrgyzstan, on August 8, 2019. CPJ recently joined a letter urging the Kyrgyz government to stop harassing journalists. (AP/Vladimir Voronin)

CPJ joins call for Kyrgyzstan to ensure safety of journalists covering corruption

By Gulnoza Said/CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator on December 20, 2019 11:00 AM ET

CPJ and four other international organizations today sent a letter to Kyrgyzstan authorities demanding they stop harassing local journalists who have covered alleged official corruption, and urging authorities to investigate threats and attacks against journalists.

In November, the independent Kyrgyz news website Kloop and the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty published a report alleging corruption among high-ranking Kyrgyz officials. Since then, an official mentioned in the piece filed a libel complaint against the outlets and, on December 12, a Bishkek court ordered the bank accounts of both outlets and their staffers to be frozen, as well as the accounts of local independent news website 24.kg, which also covered the report, according to news reports. The court reversed that decision on December 13, according to reports.

Since December 17, Kloop and several other local independent news websites, including Kaktus.Media and Factcheck, have been experiencing cyberattacks after they published other allegations of corruption, according to a report by Kloop.

The letter, led by Stockholm-based international human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders, urges Kyrgyz authorities to take all steps possible to guarantee that journalists, lawyers, and activists associated with anti-corruption reporting are able to continue their work safely and without disruption.

The full text of the statement can be read here.

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