Kyrgyzstan: independent media website outlet blocked over allegation of disseminating false informationEvent
- Initial Date
- Nov 9, 2023
- Event Description
The independent Kloop website's Kyrgyz-language pages (ky.kloop.asia) have been blocked in Kyrgyzstan after its Russian site was blocked in September amid ongoing pressure on the owner, the Kloop Media Public Foundation.
The Central Asian nation's Culture Ministry blocked Kloop's Kyrgyz site after the State Committee of National Security (UKMK) again claimed the media outlet distributed false information, Kloop said on November 9.
The claim was about a report that appeared on Kloop's website in September about jailed opposition politician Ravshan Jeenbekov and a statement he made saying that he was tortured while in custody.
Several Internet providers in the former Soviet republic blocked Kloop's site in Russian before the story ran. The Bishkek city Prosecutor's Office then initiated legal proceedings against the Kloop Media Public Foundation to suspend its work in Kyrgyzstan because of the critical coverage of the government by its media outlet.
The Culture Ministry also demanded Kloop remove an article about the alleged torture of Jeenbekov from its site in Russian.
On September 12, Kloop published an article refusing to remove the material, saying the story in question attributed all information about the situation faced by Jeenbekov while in custody to actual individuals and sources.
Kloop said at the time that it was officially informed of the lawsuit against it and the move followed an audit by the UKMK that determined its "published materials are aimed at sharply criticizing the policies of the current government" and that "most of the publications are purely negative, aimed at discrediting representatives of state and municipal bodies."
Established in June 2007, Kloop is a Kyrgyz news website (kloop.kg) most of whose contributors are students and graduates of the Kloop Media Public Foundation School of Journalism. As an independent media entity, it is known for publishing reports on corruption within various governmental bodies and providing training to Central Asian journalists in fact-checking and investigative techniques.
RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, known as Radio Azattyk, Kloop, and the Center for Corruption and Organized Crime Research (OCCRP) have collaborated on a series of investigations concerning corruption in Kyrgyzstan.
Kyrgyzstan's civil society and free press have traditionally been the most vibrant in Central Asia. But that has changed amid a deepening government crackdown.
Kyrgyz authorities blocked Radio Azattyk's websites in Kyrgyz and Russian in late October 2022 after it refused to take down a video, which was produced by Current Time, a Russian-language network run by RFE/RL in cooperation with Voice of America.
Officials of the Central Asian state claimed that the authors of the video "predominantly" took the position of the Tajik side. RFE/RL rejected the accusation saying the broadcaster "takes our commitment to balanced reporting seriously" and that after a review of the content in question, "no violation of our standards" was found.
In July, the Bishkek court annulled the decision that shut down RFE/RL's operations in Kyrgyzstan.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Online Attack and Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Media freedom
- Freedom of expression
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 9 November 2023, independent media outlet Kloop, had its website blocked by the Culture Ministry over allegation of disseminating false information in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.