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Media experts demand to revoke law on manipulation of information

Experts of Media Policy Institute demand to revoke the law of deputies Gulshat Asylbaeva and Ainur Osmonova on manipulating information.

According to them, the document lacks a legal basis for restrictions proposed by the initiators on exercising the right to free expression. The law is not formulated clearly enough and does not give citizens an opportunity to foresee the consequences for its non-execution and, accordingly, jeopardizes the very principle of the right to freedom of opinion and speech.

«The law gives those charged with its execution broad powers to decide what is false and should be limited,» analysis of Media Policy Institute says.

The proposed restrictions in form of blocking information are an overly broad interference with exercising the right and is inappropriate to fulfill its protective function.

From analysis of Media Policy Institute

Experts note that the proposed version contradicts Article 20 of the Constitution, according to which restrictions can be imposed only for the purposes for which they are intended, and they must be directly related to the specific goal that they pursue, and be proportionate to it.

The deputies approved the resonant document on June 26, 2020. At least 79 members of the Parliament voted for it. Civil activists, domestic and international human rights activists demanded from the President Sooronbai Jeenbekov to veto the bill of Gulshat Asylbaeva, which threatens freedom of speech in the republic. However, under the Constitution, the head of state does not have an absolute veto right.

Jeenbekov returned the controversial law to the Parliament for revision in July. A group for overcoming the objections was formed.

Earlier, media experts and lawyers have repeatedly stated that the law is dangerous, since it does not contain specifics and explanations of what a fake, inaccurate or dangerous information is, and it is discriminatory.