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New version of Constitution contains threats to human rights and media

The new draft Constitution contains a number of threats to both human, civil rights and freedom of the media. Such a document should not be put forward to a referendum. Media Development Center NGO says in a statement.

According to it, the introductory part of the document already has provisions that pose a threat to a democratic state, in particular, instead of the «rule of law» we are offered «the rule of moral values.»

«It means that in case of any contradictions between the law and someone’s moral values, which can be very diverse, moral values ​​of the party that will have more resources — economic, social, political — will be applied,» the organization believes.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes the freedom to adhere to one’s beliefs without hindrance and the freedom to seek, receive and spread information and ideas by any means, regardless of state borders.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Despite the obligations to the international community, the draft Constitution provides the right to access information held by state bodies and local government bodies only for the media. The rest of the persons are deprived of this. In particular, there is no article in this draft that would have similar rights and guarantees provided in Article 33 of the current Constitution of the country, namely:

  • Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, store, use information and distribute it orally, in writing or in any other way;
  • Everyone has the right to familiarize themselves with information about themselves in government bodies, local government bodies, institutions and organizations;
  • Everyone has the right to receive information about the activities of government bodies, local government bodies and their officials, legal entities with the participation of government bodies and local government bodies, as well as organizations financed from the republican and local budgets;
  • Everyone is guaranteed access to information held by state bodies, local government bodies and their officials. The procedure for providing information is determined by law;
  • No one can be subject to criminal punishment for disseminating information that discredits or degrades the honor and dignity of a person.

«The greatest danger in Article 23 of the draft Constitution is fraught with the phrases «generally recognized moral values, traditions of the peoples of Kyrgyzstan, morality», because they do not have a clear framework and practically any principle or norm beneficial to those in power can be attributed to such moral values ​​and traditions. For example, the tradition of bride kidnapping is still preserved in Kyrgyzstan, does this mean that if the media outlet publishes material that criticizes this tradition, it can be banned? What prevents the legislator from introducing restrictions based on the norms of national legislation in line with the international obligations of Kyrgyzstan? » the NGO stresses.

This article essentially introduces censorship of media and Internet media outlets, shows and public events that contradict abstract and vague notions of public morality.

From the statement of Media Development Center NGO

The activists express complete disagreement with the draft Constitution, considering it as anti-democratic and anti-popular.

Eighty deputies of the Parliament initiated a law on holding a referendum to amend the Constitution. It has been submitted for public discussion on the official website of the Parliament.

The redrawing of the Constitution was originally initiated by Sadyr Japarov. He spoke about this many times. However, the attempt to rewrite the Basic Law was shifted to the deputies of Parliament of the sixth convocation, who, in fact, became illegitimate after October 28, 2020 — their term of office has expired.