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Million-som suits against media - wish to dispose of disloyal outlets

The Independent Union of Journalists considers 1,000,000-som claims against the media as a wish to dispose of all disloyal media outlets. The organization made this statement today.

It is noted that it is becoming more difficult for non-state media to play the role of the fourth branch of power. Independence is expensive. This is evidenced by the latest decisions of the courts of first instance on multimillion claims from the Prosecutor General in defense of the honor of the President, which fully upheld the demands in his favor.

The decision was made to recover 24 million soms from Zanoza.kg and its founders Narynbek Idinov and Dina Maslova, as well as 3 million soms — from ex-deputy and director of the Legal Clinic Adilet, Cholpon Dzhakupova.

«The courts have ignored repeated appeals of the public to observe the principles of proportionality and reasonableness in setting the amount of compensation for moral harm. This can be regarded as an attempt to close an independent Internet publication by any means and deprive it of the opportunity to provide the public with alternative information about what is happening in Kyrgyzstan ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, as Zanoza.kg website will not withstand such a tough unreasonable financial pressure," the appeal says.

The Independent Union of Journalists believes that such lawsuits against the media and such hasty judgments not only contradict the principle of freedom of expression laid down in the Constitution but also harm society, they damage the image of the state as a democratic country where the values ​​of freedom of speech are respected.

Considering that the million-som claim was also filed by the pro-power party SDPK against 24.kg news agency, such actions look just like a wish to dispose of all disloyal news media.

Independent Union of Journalists

«The Independent Union of Journalists, on the one hand, welcomes the decision of the head of state to withdraw the claims to Azattyk Media. On the other hand, the decisions of the first instances on Zanoza.kg reveal the failures in the judicial reform. We express the hope that the mind and law will prevail over emotions and the following judicial instances will make a fair and balanced decision in relation to the Internet media. The media should not bear such an unreasonably high material responsibility for their professional activities," the organization concludes.