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Shykmamatov demands to include prohibition of censorship in Constitution

The constitutional convention continues its work in Kyrgyzstan. After the first week of discussions in sections where absurd proposals were most often voiced, scientists and experts engaged in more substantive consultations.

Members of the constitutional convention Almambet Shykmamatov and Murat Ukushev speak for a ban on censorship, spelled out in a separate article in the Basic Law. They also insist on supplementing Article 33 and will seek to ensure that it contains the following norm: freedom of the media is guaranteed in the Kyrgyz Republic.

According to the initiators, some of the paragraphs of Article 27 should be stated as follows:

3. Everyone has the right to get acquainted with information about himself, which is not a state or other secret protected by law, at state authorities, local government bodies, institutions and organizations.

4. Everyone is guaranteed judicial protection of the right to refute false information about himself and his family members and the right to demand withdrawal of any information, as well as the right to compensation for material and moral damage caused by the collection, storage and dissemination of false information.

According to Almambet Shykmamatov, the constitutional convention is obliged to preserve all the rights and freedoms of a citizen.

Together with Murat Ukushev, they propose the following wording for Article 33:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, freedom of speech and press, as well as the unimpeded expression of these thoughts and beliefs.

Promotion of social, racial, national, religious or linguistic superiority is prohibited.

5. Freedom of the mass media is guaranteed in the Kyrgyz Republic.

6. Censorship is prohibited.

The authors stress that the right to freedom of thought and speech is a global value, it is a natural right of any person, as well as his right to life, dignity, personal integrity and freedom of movement.

They also paid attention to Article 42 of the Basic Law. According to Almambet Shykmamatov and Murat Ukushev, individual points should be stated as follows:

2. The family is created on the basis of a voluntary union of a man and a woman who have reached the legal age for marriage, and registration of marriage between them. No marriage can be registered without the mutual consent of the persons entering into the marriage. The marriage is registered by the state.

3. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, should enjoy the same social protection. The state ensures the maintenance, upbringing, education of orphans and children deprived of parental care.

5. In the Kyrgyz Republic, young people are guaranteed the right to their spiritual, moral and physical development.

6. The state ensures implementation of youth policy aimed at creating the necessary conditions for education and employment of young people, support for young families, free participation of young people in political, social, economic, cultural and other spheres of activity.

Article 44

3. Citizens in need of social protection shall be provided with housing by the state and local self-government bodies free of charge or for an affordable fee from state, municipal and other housing funds in accordance with the norms established by law.

Almambet Shykmamatov noted that he and his colleague paid a lot of attention to the rights and freedoms of citizens. According to their version, individual paragraphs of Article 49 should read as follows:

1. The list of fundamental rights and freedoms in the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic is not exhaustive and should not be interpreted as a denial or diminution of other universally recognized human and civil rights and freedoms.

2. The Kyrgyz Republic must not issue laws that abolish or diminish human rights and freedoms.

3. The exercise by a person and a citizen of his rights and freedoms must not violate the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others.

5. Restrictions in exercising human and civil rights and freedoms are allowed by the Constitution and laws of the Kyrgyz Republic only for the purpose of ensuring the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of others, protecting national security, public order, territorial integrity, protection of constitutional order, the health and morality of the population. At the same time, the essence of constitutional rights and freedoms cannot be affected.

It is proposed to include a mandatory clause in Article 51:

3. Adoption of laws restricting freedom of speech and press is not allowed.

The new draft Constitution has been submitted for public discussion on the official website of the Parliament.

Revision 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.