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Journalists, Kyrgyzstan's media ask authorities to provide access to information

In the state of emergency in the Kyrgyz Republic, it is extremely important to provide the media and journalists with access to information. Appeal of the media community of Kyrgyzstan to the authorities of the republic says.

Today, the Kyrgyz Republic, like the whole world, is faced with an unprecedented emergency situation. Journalists understand the necessity for introduction of the state of emergency in the country. But to the extent of their mission — to tell the truth about what is happening and to provide citizens with access to information — they express their extreme concern about some decisions within the framework of eliminating the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic is an emergency situation that has no precedents for Kyrgyzstan. Accordingly, many decisions can be incomprehensible, erroneous, ridiculous. This is quite clearly obvious after the introduction of the state of emergency. In such a situation, it is imperative for the state, in the absence of sufficient experience, to manage the gaps and errors in a flexible mode. Such tactics will ensure a situation in which society will support and implement new temporary rules. The role of the media in this is extremely difficult to overestimate, because these are the journalists who inform the public about the decisions made and provide the state with feedback from the people.

Another important role of the media is to help prevent the spread of rumors and fake information.

We live in the 21st century, when every citizen has a telephone and the Internet, and each person becomes a distributor of information, including unconfirmed and unreliable. This is not always done by people with an evil purpose. This often happens due to the fact that people are afraid and reliable information is not enough. Once again, the role of the media and professional journalists cannot be overestimated here.

«Instead of providing us with the appropriate conditions for work, each time we face with ever greater limitations. Journalists cannot reach spokespersons and decision-makers; they do not respond to requests. Instead of press conferences, where we can ask questions, briefings are held, where questions are not planned a priori. The first press conference was organized only today; it is not known whether they will be regular and with participation of those people, whom the media would like to ask questions. Thus, society receives one-sided information — only that is needed by the republican emergency response center and state bodies,» the appeal says.

At the same time, the media community draws attention to the fact that during the pandemic, we must strive to reach out each audience on each information distribution channel, let it be TV, radio, printed or online media outlets, social media influencers or WhatsApp messages, and not limit the delivery of information only to state-owned channels. The media should ask questions from citizens to help the state fight the pandemic.

Do not make mistakes of the catastrophes of the 20th century, do not hide the information!

Media Community of Kyrgyzstan

«Despite the fact that it is vital to ensure appropriate conditions for the safe work of journalists, the commandant’s office decided not to carry out accreditation. We draw attention to the fact that the wording of paragraph 9 of the Article 17 of the Constitutional Law on the State of Emergency must be considered not only as the commandant’s right, but also as an obligation to establish the procedure for accreditation of journalists. Since the Constitutional Law on the State of Emergency does not provide for refusal to carry out accreditation of journalists, accordingly, such a decision by the commandant of Bishkek does not meet the norms of the law,» the media representatives recall.

Journalists draw attention to the fact that officials, first of all, under the conditions of the state of emergency, must strictly observe the requirements of the law, especially the constitutional law.

The state must comply with the statutory guarantee to provide journalists with free access to information of public interest, concerning the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, and to protect journalists in their professional activities.

«And we remind once again: in order the society to trust and take decisions of the state, they must be transparent and accountable. To ensure these expectations, it is necessary to ensure providing society with timely and reliable information about events and measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic by journalists,» the appeal says.

For their part, the media community of Kyrgyzstan promises to adhere to the principle of accuracy and reliability of information, to try to clarify and double-check information in the commandant’s office; in the state of emergency to always have passport and official ID with them, contact only competent specialists who have relevant knowledge and information and can provide accurate, objective information; always wear personal protective equipment (medical masks, shoe covers), to separate statements of facts from personal opinions; to strictly follow the legal requirements of law enforcement officers involved in ensuring the state of emergency.

There are 94 confirmed coronavirus cases in Kyrgyzstan as of today. Three of the infected are in serious condition, three people recovered.

A state of emergency and curfew were imposed in the territory of Bishkek, Osh and Jalal-Abad cities, Nookat and Kara-Suu districts of Osh region, Suzak district of Jalal-Abad region.