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News blackout lifted. Court delivers judgement in favor of Kaktus.media

Bishkek City Court ruled to secure a lawsuit of a Kazakh businessman Abay Kamalov, which he filed against Kaktus.media and his wife Altyngul Kudaibergenova, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan.

Lawyer of Media Policy Institute nonprofit organization, representing the interests of the media, said that this was the first case since the mass claims against the media during the reign of Almazbek Atambayev.

In recent years, blackout of news, due to which the media are sued, has become the norm, although, in fact, it is censorship.

Abay Kamalov demands a million soms from his wife and the same amount from the editorial board of the media outlet for two publications, where Kudaibergenova told that her husband beat her and did not give her children. The businessman also demanded to prohibit distribution of the materials. Courts considered that the media outlet should remove the publications from the website for the period of litigation.

Lawyers recalled that after start of the proceedings, Kaktus.media published two more materials: «City Court bans distribution of articles about woman who reported about beatings by her husband» and «Businessman from Kazakhstan Kamalov, who had beaten Kyrgyzstani, demands child support from his ex-wife.» After it the representative of Kamalov requested from the court to also ban their distribution.

The judge of the Pervomaisky District Court, Kundus Isaeva, granted the request. But this decision was canceled by the Bishkek City Court.

Representatives of the interests of the media stressed that the restriction of Kaktus.media resource in the distribution of any informational materials regarding the plaintiff for the period of consideration of the lawsuit violates the fundamental rights to freedom of the press and access to information.

The Law of the Kyrgyz Republic on Protection of Professional Activities of Journalist states that censorship is not allowed. No one has the right to require from a journalist to pre-agree articles and materials, change the text or completely remove a material or article. The Media Policy Institute considered that the ruling of the first instance court was a veiled censorship.