One of Central Asia’s most respected independent news outlets is taking a government agency in Kyrgyzstan to court for blocking its website. The trial is scheduled to begin in Bishkek later this week.
Moscow-based Fergana News claims Kyrgyz authorities unconstitutionally banned its website – Fergananews.com, formerly known as Ferghana.ru. The ban was imposed by a parliamentary resolution, not a court ruling, as is required under the country’s media law.
Fergana News was one of many prominent outlets to voice criticism about authorities’ response to ethnic violence between Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. A year later, on June 9, 2011, after weeks of heated debate over the causes of the violence, parliament voted 95-0 to block the site, passing a resolution that labeled Fergana News “extremist.”
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Bakyt Ibraimov contributed reporting.