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Reporters Without Borders calls on to dismiss Matraimovs’ lawsuit against media

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on a Bishkek court to dismiss an absurd lawsuit against two Kyrgyz news media outlets, Radio Azattyk and the website Kloop, and the journalist Ali Toktakunov. Statement of the organization says.

The lawsuit has been brought by the Matraimov family, which is seeking a total of 780,000 euros in damages in connection with their joint revelations about an alleged massive network of corruption involving a parliamentarian and a former senior customs official who are members of the family.

The lawsuit initially also targeted 24.kg news agency, a news website that published a summary of the exposé, but it has been dropped from the case after it published a statement yesterday retracting the investigation’s claims.

«It is absurd that the journalists at Azattyk and Kloop are being sued in connection with their investigative reporting, which served the public interest and galvanized Kyrgyz civil society in its entirety,» said Jeanne Cavelier, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. «We ask the court to dismiss the lawsuit against the two media outlets and the journalist Ali Toktakunov and we urge the Kyrgyz authorities to do whatever is necessary to guarantee the safety of the journalists working on the story. The attacks of the past three months have done serious damage to press freedom in Kyrgyzstan.»