Media organizations urge to investigate attacks on journalists on the election day

 

Civil society condemns the facts of obstruction of coverage of the parliamentary elections and encroachments on the personal safety of journalists and calls for bringing all those responsible to justice. 

On October 4, 2020, during a live broadcast from polling station No. 5316 in Osh, an unknown citizen hit Kloop operator Hamidullo Uzakov several times and tried to grab the journalist's phone. 

It was also reported that unknown citizens did not allow media representatives to enter polling station No. 5912 in the southern capital. In Talas, during the coverage of the elections at polling station No. 6108, an attack was made on the film crew of the editorial office of Azattyk Media: an unknown woman hit the video camera and demanded to stop filming. 

There is deliberate harm to health, deliberate destruction of other people's property, hooliganism, expressed in a gross violation of public order and the norms of generally accepted behavior, associated with violence, characterized by cynicism, committed with special audacity. These actions, among other things, are criminal offenses. 

According to Art. 33 paragraph 1 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, store, use information and disseminate it orally, in writing or in any other way. Thus, the state guarantees the journalist the free receipt and dissemination of information, ensures his protection in the exercise of his professional activities. 

The Law "On the Protection of the Professional Activities of Journalists" prohibits the prosecution of a journalist for publishing critical materials. In order to implement the norms of the Constitution and laws, the state must create and provide journalists with conditions for unhindered coverage of issues of public interest related to the rights and freedoms of citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic. 

One of the important components of ensuring free and fair elections is the creation of conditions for the smooth operation of the media. It is expected that the state will protect the right of the media to actively cover the electoral process in order to prevent violations during the elections. 

In turn, the lack of response to such incidents encourages further encroachment on the activities of journalists and affects the situation with freedom of speech in the country. 

It is worth noting that the restriction on the freedom to disseminate information, infringement on the integrity of the person and the lack of effective legal protection are a gross violation of the norms of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the Kyrgyz Republic is a party. 

According to Art. 6 clause 3 of the Constitution, international treaties that have entered into force in the manner prescribed by law, to which the Kyrgyz Republic is a party, as well as generally recognized principles and norms of international law are an integral part of the legal system of the state. 

In this regard, we call on the state bodies represented by the Central Commission for Elections and Referendums and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to give an appropriate assessment of the indicated facts of violation, to conduct a thorough check, including immediately ensure that all criminal procedural actions are carried out (appointment of an expert examination, identification of the persons involved and etc.) and bring those responsible to justice. 

  

Institute for Media Policy; 

Independent Union of Journalists of Kyrgyzstan; 

Internews in Kyrgyzstan; 

NGO "Journalists"; 

Foundation for Investigative Journalism; 

Center for Media Development; 

PF "MediaConsult"; 

Media Complaints Commission; 

Dinara Sumalieva; 

Almaz Kurmanaliev; 

Avlanbek Dzhumabaev; 

Tamara Valieva; 

Marat Tokoev. 

 

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