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CPJ condemns Kyrgyzstan’s order to shut investigative outlet Kloop

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is appalled by decision of Kyrgyzstan’s court on Friday to shutter Kloop Media, a nonprofit that runs the country’s leading investigative news website Kloop. The organization said in a statement.

«After last month’s mass arrest of journalists linked to anti-corruption outlet Temirov Live, the forced closure of Kloop—one of the most respected media outlets not just in Kyrgyzstan but in the whole of Central Asia—signals Kyrgyz authorities’ intent to wipe out an investigative reporting hub that has previously set the country apart from its authoritarian neighbors,» Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said. «Authorities in Kyrgyzstan should allow Kloop to remain open, reverse their escalating campaign against the press, and allow independent media to work freely.»

On February 9, Oktyabrsky District Court of Bishkek, granted an application by the city’s prosecutor to shutter Kloop Media on the grounds that the organization’s charter does not cover journalistic activity.

Kloop’s chief editor, Anna Kapushenko, told CPJ that the outlet rejected the claims and planned to continue operating pending appeal.

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.