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Amnesty International: Attempt to shut down Kloop is dark day for press freedom

Attempt of authorities of Kyrgyzstan to shut down media outlet is a dark day for press freedom. The international human rights organization Amnesty International said.

«Kloop Media is a respected independent voice that strives to provide reporting about the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan backed by fact. This attempt by the Kyrgyz authorities to shut it down is the latest move in a regression on freedom of expression and the exercising of human rights for citizens of Kyrgyzstan,» Maisy Weicherding, Researcher for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International, said.

As the organization notes, the lawsuit, filed by the Bishkek city Prosecutor’s Office, points to the critical stance taken by Kloop’s reporting. Yet the right to freedom of expression — as protected under the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan and international human rights law — emphasizes the imperative of heightened protection for political expression. Given the watchdog role of the media, public officials are expected to tolerate the higher levels of criticism that may be levelled against them.

The authorities’ unrelenting repression of freedom of speech and expression, including the targeting of journalists and government critics, and the crackdown on peaceful protest risks cancelling out the positive strides that have been made on human rights in Kyrgyzstan in the last few decades.

Amnesty International

«Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to immediately withdraw the lawsuit and allow Kloop to continue its essential work as a beacon of truth and human rights within the country,» the organization says.

It was reported on August 28 that Bishkek prosecutor Emilbek Abdymanapov filed a lawsuit in court to liquidate Kloop.Media public foundation.

The lawsuit, in particular, states that «most of the publications are of a negative nature, aimed at discrediting representatives of state and municipal bodies», «Kloop.Media publications contain hidden manipulations of the opinion of the society, which are imposed negative processes that do not correspond to reality, and create opposition to any undertakings of the current government».

The prosecutor cites several headlines and materials from Kloop.kg, which, according to the oversight body, are sharply critical of the government.

The prosecutor’s office also accuses the public foundation of concealing a large amount of funds.