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CSCE Leadership Condemn Attacks on the Media in Kyrgyzstan

WASHINGTON—In response to the recent detention of journalists and raids on independent media in Kyrgyzstan, Helsinki Commission Chairman Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Co-Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD) issued the following joint statement:

“We condemn the recent arrests and raids on independent media in Kyrgyzstan and call on Kyrgyz authorities to end the ongoing assault on freedom of the press. The actions undertaken by Kyrgyz authorities, including the search of 24.kg‘s office, confiscation of equipment, and detention of journalists on vague and spurious charges are deeply troubling. The criminal investigation into 24.kg for alleged ‘propaganda of war’ without transparent details poses a direct threat to press freedom.

Equally alarming is the raid on Temirov Live’s office, the arrest of eleven current and former staff, and the subsequent criminal investigation into publications by Temirov Live and Ait Ait Dese. These actions – in addition to the blocking of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Kyrgyz Service in 2022 – not only undermine the fundamental principles of democracy but also signal a severe deterioration of press freedom in Kyrgyzstan over the past two years.

We express solidarity with the brave journalists at risk, and call on Kyrgyz authorities to immediately stop criminal investigations into independent outlets, release individuals in detention, and end the crackdown on independent media.  We also call on the parliament and president to reject a new draft media law that would give the government unfettered control over Kyrgyz media, including allowing it to deny registration and to close down media outlets.”

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