Fifty countries urged by RSF and DWA to back Kloop against the Kyrgyz state

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Deutsche Welle Akademie (DWA) have submitted the case of the abusive attempt to liquidate the investigative website Kloop to the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC). The aim is to mobilise its fifty member states, from six continents, to denounce the judicial harassment that is emblematic of the repressive escalation against the media in Kyrgyzstan.

With the Kyrgyz investigative media Kloop due to appear in court in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, again on 27 November, on absurd and abusive charges, RSF and the DWA are making an urgent referral of this emblematic case to the Media Freedom Coalition (MFC) – a coalition of states committed to defending press freedom around the world. The website is not only facing possible closure but also the possibility of criminal prosecutions against its employees.

“This influential investigative media outlet, which has been responsible for major revelations about corruption, deserves the attention and support of all press freedom defenders around the world. Its harassment is emblematic of the increase in the persecution of independent media that began nearly two years ago. RSF hopes for a strong reaction from the MFC, an electric shock that will make President Japarov realise this issue’s importance for Kyrgyzstan. The charges against Kloop must be dropped and the attacks on press freedom must stop.

Jeanne Cavelier
Head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk

The complaint that the Bishkek prosecutor’s office brought against Kloop on 22 August 2023 accuses it above all of violating its own statutes. It claims that Kloop has carried out media activity that is not listed in its charter, although spreading information is clearly included in its statutes.

Kloop, whose recent investigative reporting has included details of alleged favouritism in Kyrgyzstan’s relations with the Spanish football club Barcelona, denies all the allegations as baseless and politically motivated.

Indeed, the Bishkek prosecutor’s case mostly focuses on the alleged damage caused by Kloop's reporting, which, it claims, aims to discredit the Kyrgyz government and authorities, manipulate public opinion, and incite hatred. Also, the authorities have blocked Kloop’s Russian-language website since September 2023 and its Kyrgyz-language site since November.

The targets of Kyrgyzstan’s steadily growing harassment of the media during the past two years have included the Temirov Live YouTube channel’s founder and Radio Azattyk, the local branch of the US broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2023 World Press Freedom Index, Kyrgyzstan has also recently adopted oppressive media legislation based on Russian laws.

120/ 180
Score : 49.11
Published on
Updated on 24.11.2023