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Arrest of Aftandil Zhorobekov. SCNS became a censorship tool, activists believe

Arrest of the administrator of BespredelKG page on Facebook Aftandil Zhorobekov is an attempt to bring to responsibility an owner of the «fence,» where naughty words are written. Statement of Civil Initiative of Internet Policy Public Foundation says.

The public foundation studied the publicly available materials regarding the arrest of Aftandil Zhorobekov and came to a conclusion that the application of such harsh measures in the form of criminal prosecution and detention was unacceptable from the point of view of law and public morality.

«This fact publicly indicates the unacceptable strengthening of control over the communications of citizens on the Internet by the country’s special services. Aftandil Zhorobekov is actually charged with the actions of other persons who left their comments under the publication. These comments express their own thoughts and conclusions, which have no meaningful connection with the publication of Aftandil Zhorobekov,» Civil Initiative of Internet Policy states.

It turns out that owner of the «fence», on which swearing and provocative statements are written, is brought to justice instead of the persons who committed the unlawful acts.

From the statement of Civil Initiative of Internet Policy Public Foundation

According to them, the legislation of Kyrgyzstan does not and cannot, according to international standards, contain obligations of users on restriction of distribution of information on the Internet, the so-called «pre-moderation» of content distributed on the Web.

«Bloggers, administrators, owners of any social media pages are not journalists. Due to this, it is unlawful and extremely unreasonable to apply to them the duties specified in the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic for the professional activities of media representatives, for example, to verify the accuracy of information or to contact specialists to verify information prepared for publication, not to spread rumors under the guise of reliable messages and, accordingly, to carry out constant independent moderation and editing of comments of other users left on the website,» the public foundation notes, adding that the owner of a site or page on a social media should be held responsible for the content of their own information, but not for all the comments.

Civil Initiative of Internet Policy believes that law enforcement agencies, in fact, are a tool of censorship, intimidation of citizens, and they themselves lead to the escalation and intensity of the protest mood, causing a split in society.

Recall, Aftandil Zhorobekov was arrested on November 27. He was charged with inciting ethnic hatred. Media experts stated about lawlessness, noting that his arrest was unlawful.