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Ombudsman comments on restrictions for journalists in state of emergency

Commandant of Bishkek, Almazbek Orozaliev, said that the media would not be accredited, consequently, journalists can not work efficiently in a state of emergency. Government officials provided such an opportunity only to state channels — KTRK and ElTR.

The journalistic community and media experts believe that the officials violate the Constitution. They demanded justification, but the Emergency Response Center and the Commandant’s Office are traditionally silent, ignoring any questions.

The Institute of Ombudsman of Kyrgyzstan commented on the decision.

The human rights organization notes that, according to the Basic Law, the rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen can be limited in order to protect national security, public order, protect the health and morality of the population, the rights and freedoms of other persons.

At the same time, the Institute of Ombudsman recalls that the restrictions imposed should be proportionate to these goals.

According to Paragraph 9 of Article 17 of the Constitutional Law on State of Emergency, the commandant of a locality in which the state of emergency was introduced, not only has the right, but establishes a special procedure for accreditation of journalists and the order of their work.

«The accreditation institute is called to regulate relationship of the media with organizations acting as sources of information. In this regard, the commandants of the respective administrative-territorial units must urgently develop and establish a special procedure for accrediting journalists in the territory in which a state of emergency has been introduced and the procedure for their work,» the commentary says.

The Institute notes that such an order can have the form of remote communication in the interests of public security.

«However, in any case, the commandant must approve a special procedure for accreditation of journalists in the form of an appropriate normative act and inform the public about it,» the statement says.

As of today, there are 107 confirmed coronavirus cases in Kyrgyzstan. 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.

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