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OSCE Representative concerned by claims against media outlets in Kyrgyzstan

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, raised his concerns at the disproportionate damages of more than 320,000 US dollars demanded in a defamation suit against the Kyrgyzstan media organizations Azattyk, Kloop.kg and 24.kg news agency.

“I am highly concerned that today these media in Kyrgyzstan have to fight a legal battle which will cast a shadow upon their very existence,” Désir said. “Disproportionate damages in civil defamation cases have a chilling effect on media freedom. It may bring about the closure of outlets and endanger media pluralism. I call for respect for journalists who reported on this case, including investigative journalists, who play a key role in press freedom and democracy,” the OSCE Representative said.    

Recall, Raiymbek Matraimov and his family members filed a lawsuit against 24.kg news agency, Kloop and Azattyk after a journalistic investigation into smuggling schemes and transfer of $ 700 million. In total, the family members of the former customs officer demand from journalists 60 million soms. The Sverdlovsky District Court of Bishkek seized media accounts without notification of the defendants. Yesterday, the Matraimovs filed a petition to cancel seizure of media accounts.