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Eleven Investigative Reporters Jailed in Kyrgyzstan: Face 5-8 Years Imprisonment

Press freedom is under threat in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia’s most democratic country.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), on January 16 Kyrgyz police raided the offices of the anti-corruption investigative outlet Temirov Live and the homes of eleven journalists and arrested them on charges of calling for mass unrest in unspecified publications by Temirov Live and its sister project Ait Ait Dese. If convicted, the journalists face between five and eight years in prison under Article 278 Part 3 of Kyrgyzstan’s criminal code.

Temirov Live is known for its anti-corruption investigations into senior government officials. Authorities deported Kyrgyzstan-born journalist Bolot Temirov in November 2022 and banned him from entering the country for five years in connection to his reporting.

Kyrgyz authorities recently launched an unprecedented attack on local independent media. On January 15, security services raided the privately owned news website 24.kg and opened a criminal case of “propaganda of war.”

Authorities are currently seeking to shutter Kloop, a local partner of the global investigative network Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), and last year blocked Radio Azattyk, the local service of the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and ordered it closedreversing their decision several months later after the outlet deleted a report that authorities had demanded be removed.

Hetq stands in solidarity with the Kyrgyz reporters jailed in Bishkek… #FreeKyrgyz11.

Screenshot: YouTube/Radio Azattyk

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