Kyrgyzstan: independent media outlet blocked amid government pressure (Update)Event
- Initial Date
- Sep 13, 2023
- Event Description
The independent Kloop website has been blocked in Kyrgyzstan amid ongoing pressure on the website's owner, the Kloop Media Public Foundation, further raising fears that officials are curbing rights to free speech and an independent media.
Kloop said on September 13 that several providers in the Central Asian nation had blocked its website just two weeks after the Bishkek city Prosecutor's Office 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 had demanded Kloop remove an article about the alleged torture of jailed opposition politician Ravshan Jeenbekov.
On September 12, Kloop published an article refusing to remove the material, saying that 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 it was officially informed of the lawsuit against it that the move was taken after an audit by the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) 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 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, Kloop, and the Center for Corruption and Organized Crime Research (OCCRP) have collaborated on a series of investigations concerning corruption in the former Soviet republic.
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.
More than 20 people, including NGO leaders and other activists, are currently facing trial on serious charges for their opposition to oppose a controversial border agreement between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan last year.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged Kyrgyz authorities to stop the move to liquidate the anti-corruption investigative website, saying it is "an outrageous and deeply cynical attempt to stifle some of Kyrgyzstan’s most probing investigative journalism, including investigations of alleged corruption involving leading state official."
The annual media freedom rankings, published recently by the Reporters Without Borders watchdog, showed Kyrgyzstan falling 50 places to 122nd out of 180 countries.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- Administrative Harassment
- Online Attack and Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Internet freedom
- Media freedom
- Freedom of expression
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 13 September 2023, independent media outlet Kloop, had its website blocked by several internet service providers and was demanded to remove a critical article by the Culture Ministry in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.