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Minister of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan comments on Temirov Live case

In an interview with Kabar news agency, Minister of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Ulan Niyazbekov commented on the detention of 11 current and former employees of Temirov Live media outlet.

He noted that not all detainees are journalists.

«Only two out of 11 detainees were journalists, the other nine were bloggers. In addition, six of them do not have higher education. Seven were placed under house arrest. The court is an independent body and does not report to us. We cannot say whether this is being done at the request of international organizations or whether it is their personal decision,» Ulan Niyazbekov said.

He added that there was no political motive in the detention of media representatives.

«They say that journalists spread various false information that comes to their mind. However, they must understand that they will have to bear responsibility for false information and accusation. These are incompetent people who do not know the basics of journalism and its laws. By spreading false information, they create panic in society. I believe that they should not be considered as journalists,» the minister noted.

He emphasized that journalists in Europe and the United States do not disseminate false or unreliable information or sling mud at anyone.

«If they slander someone or spread false information about the work of the authorities, they will be sued, forced to pay compensation or imprisoned. We also need to establish order, like in Europe and the United States of America. It is okay, if they criticize us, the authorities, there is no prohibition on this. We have and will have freedom of speech. Our only request is to provide proven and accurate information to the public. We imprisoned them because they spread false information that the government did this, the ministry did that, thereby calling the people to mass riots,» Ulan Niyazbekov summed up.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement announcing that, as a result of «forensic linguistic examination» of content found on the social media pages of Temirov Live and Ait Ait Dese on December 30, criminal proceedings had been initiated against them under article 278, part 3 of the Criminal Code for «calling for riots.»

Makhabat Tazhibek kyzy, Sapar Akunbekov, Azamat Ishenbekov, Saipidin Sultanaliev, Aktilek Kaparov, Tynystan Asypbekov, Maksat Tazhibek uulu, Zhoodar Buzumov, Zhumabek Turdaliev, Aike Beishekeeva and Akyl Orozbekov were detained.

All of them are former or current employees of Temirov Live. All 11 detained journalists were arrested for two months. Two previously arrested journalists were released from custody.

Earlier, the court placed Saparbek Akunbekov and Akyl Orozbekov under house arrest. Zhumabek Turdaliev was released on his own recognizance. On April 9, the preventive measure was changed for Saipidin Sultanaliev, Tynystan Asypbekov, Zoodar Buzumov and Maksat Tazhibek uulu.

Aktilek Kaparov, Aike Beishekeeva, Azamat Ishenbekov and Makhabat Tazhibek kyzy remain under arrest.