Better, but could do even better
The pluralism of the Kyrgyz media is exceptional in Central Asia but the polarisation of Kyrgyz society is reflected both within the media themselves and in the environment for journalists. This was seen in the attacks against reporters by both police and demonstrators during the post-election unrest in October 2020. Investigative journalism is still hesitant, hampered by difficulties in accessing information and subjected to a great deal of harassment, including physical violence, cyber-attacks and interrogations. Exposing corruption – such as the alleged smuggling activities and money-laundering of millions of dollars by the Matraimov family – can still be very dangerous for independent journalists and media outlets. Journalists will also continue to lack security until legislative reforms cap damage awards (which have been astronomic), abolish the president’s special protection and ensure judicial independence. The abortive attempt to impose a draconian law on the pretext of combatting disinformation at the height of the Covid-19 crisis served as another warning. The extradition of Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev back to Uzbekistan in August 2020, although he faced imprisonment and torture there, was also very disturbing.
82 in 2020
30.19 in 2020