Kyrgyzstan: Destroying Independent Media, Mission Accomplished
If the intention of Kyrgyzstan’s authorities was to destroy a prominent independent media outlet by suing it for libel, then top officials in Bishkek should crack open the champagne.
A co-founder of Zanoza.kg, the journalist Naryn Aiyp, announced on July 6 that the website would likely close as a result of the legal cases mounted against it by the General Prosecutor’s Office on behalf of President Almazbek Atambayev.
A court in Bishkek on June 30 ruled to find Zanoza.kg news website guilty of besmirching Atambayev’s honor and ordered it to pay 15 million som (around $215,000). In a further ruling for a separate instance of purported libel of the president earlier this month, the court ordered the website to pay a further $43,000. Yet another case is pending.
Aiyp said that the publication is appealing the verdicts, but that he and his colleagues have no illusions the previously decisions will be overturned or that their final upcoming libel case will go their way.
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