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Foreign Ministry accuses OSCE of attempt to influence court on media claims

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan responded to a comment by OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir, who expressed concern about the disproportionate damages demanded in a defamation suit against the Kyrgyzstan media organizations Azattyk, Kloop.kg and 24.kg news agency.

The Foreign Ministry categorically disagrees with the statement of the OSCE Representative regarding freedom of speech in the Kyrgyz Republic, considering it subjective and not reflecting the real situation.

«We consider this statement as an attempt to exert a certain influence on the judicial power of the Kyrgyz Republic,» the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry believes that «there are no restrictions on freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan and the country has been consistently demonstrating an unshakable commitment to the principles of democracy, human rights and the diversity of the media in accordance with international obligations.»

«President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sooronbai Jeenbekov has repeatedly noted that he adhered to the principles of protecting freedom of speech and strengthening civil society as factors that play a key role in the development of the country. The position of the head of state was repeatedly voiced earlier and was reaffirmed in the recent statement by the presidential spokesperson,» the statement says.

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 blocked media accounts without notification of the defendants. The Matraimovs filed a petition for unfreezing the media accounts, and the court unfroze the bank accounts of the three media outlets and a journalist Ali Toktakunov.