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Law against media: Attempt made to block 24.kg website in Kyrgyzstan

An attempt was made to block 24.kg news agency website in Kyrgyzstan. It is said in a letter from the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy to the Ministry of Digital Development.

24.kg news agency team became aware on Thursday of the letter sent by the Service for Regulation and Supervision in the Communications Industry under the Ministry of Digital Development to hosting and Internet service providers, as well as communications providers. It says that by decision of the Ministry of Culture, the website or page of 24.kg news agency should be blocked for a period of two months. Officials in their letter refer to the norm of the law on Inaccurate (False) Information, initiated by Gulshat Asylbaeva.

The letter does not indicate which publication was the reason for blocking. It also does not say who filed a complaint against the media outlet.

The Ministry of Culture, which 24.kg news agency contacted for comment, reported that the blocking decision had been withdrawn. The letter signed by the Deputy Minister, Chyngyz Esengul uulu, has already been sent to communications providers. However, some providers managed to block the news agency’s website.

Earlier, the Minister of Culture Azamat Zhamankulov told that the ministry received the first complaint about the publication on social media.

«Information is blocked by the Ministry of Digital Development. So far, this is possible through local resources only. There is no possibility to do it through external ones, such as Facebook or Instagram. The Ministry of Digital Development is negotiating with them in order to develop legal mechanisms,» the minister explained.

Initiators of the law claimed that it was aimed at combating fakes on social media. But media experts warned that Gulshat Asylbaeva’s initiative would be used primarily against the media and journalists of Kyrgyzstan.

President Sadyr Japarov signed the Law on Protection from Inaccurate (False) Information, initiated by MP Gulshat Asylbaeva, on August 23, 2021.