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CPJ: Kyrgyz authorities should ensure safety of journalist Ulugbek Babakulov

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan should ensure the safety of independent journalist Ulugbek Babakulov

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in its statement.

According to the editor of Fergana website, Ulugbek Babakulov, who has been the target of intense criticism from lawmakers and pro-government media since he criticized nationalist social media posts in an article last week, has received death threats on social media.

«Kyrgyz authorities are responsible for freelance journalist Ulugbek Babakulov’s safety and for upholding his right to report and to express himself without fear of retaliation," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. «We call on Kyrgyzstan’s security forces to investigate the threats to Babakulov’s life as serious crimes, and we call on Kyrgyz lawmakers to retract their calls to strip him of his citizenship.»

Daniil Kislov, chief editor of Fergana, told that he fears for Babakulov’s safety.

«Apart from many attacks in the Kyrgyz- and Russian-language, state-controlled, and pro-government media, Ulugbek has been receiving death threats on social media," Kislov told. «He and his family have been under surveillance. Two days ago, unknown people came and photographed his house when Ulugbek was not at home. His wife got scared. We are afraid he is not safe.»