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Sooronbai Jeenbekov promises not to pursue journalists in court

The President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov told that he was not going to pursue journalists and the media in court. The director of the Media Policy Institute Begaim Usenova told 24.kg news agency after the meeting with the president.

During the conversation between representatives of the civil sector and the head of state, Begaim Usenova asked about the position of Sooronbai Jeenbekov regarding Article 4 of the Law On Guarantees of Activity of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, which obliges the Prosecutor General to protect the honor of the first person of the country through the court. This authority of the Prosecutor General is not spelled out in the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.

«O May 3, on World Press Freedom Day, we together with numerous media organizations and the media sent you an appeal, in which called you to openly voice your position on this article. Everyone has the right to defend honor and dignity, including the head of state. But the honor and dignity of the president should be defended in a civil court in the general order without any privileges. This is important, because the participation of the president in the proceedings as one of the parties, in one way or another, exerts pressure on the judges,» said the director of the Media Policy Institute.

According to Begaim Usenova, Sooronbai Jeenbekov noted that he was not going to sue journalists and as the president, he was ready for sound criticism. At the same time, he called on the media to be objective.

«But we can not rely only on goodwill or benevolent mood. Therefore, we need to achieve exclusion of this norm. The president promised to voice his position later. He also called journalists to objectivity,» Begaim Usenova said.

In addition, Sooronbai Jeenbekov promised to think about the Article 299 of the Criminal Code (inciting of ethnic and religious hatred).

«I want to note that today, under this article, every citizen can face a prison term from four to seven years even for a rather innocuous post in a social network. He, answering my question, said that he agreed that prison term should be only an extreme measure,» Begaim Usenova told.