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Culture Ministry of Kyrgyzstan asks court to shut down Radio Azattyk

The Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy of Kyrgyzstan filed a lawsuit with the Leninsky District Court of Bishkek to terminate the activities of Azattyk Media as a media outlet. The staff of the media outlet reported, citing a notification sent by the ministry.

The lawsuit states that the video material about the conflict on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border has not been removed and is being distributed on social media. The actions of Azattyk, according to the plaintiff, contradict the requirements of the law on the mass media — in accordance with Article 23, propaganda of war, violence and cruelty, national, religious exclusivity and intolerance towards other peoples and nations is not allowed.

On October 27, the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy of Kyrgyzstan announced that it had suspended the operation of Radio Azattyk website for two months. The ministry noted that on September 16, the Current Time resource (subordinate structure of Azattyk Media) published a video entitled «Heavy fighting on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan», in which «elements of hate speech, unconfirmed information about the alleged attack by the Kyrgyz side on Tajikistan were used, as well as information that aggravates the situation in society and causes hatred, discrimination and division among citizens when covering events in Batken region.»

In a statement issued the same day, RFE/RL President Jamie Fly said the broadcaster had reviewed the content in question and found «no violation of standards.»