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Conflicting Narratives Add to Tensions in Kyrgyzstan

Interim government claims unrest not interethnic violence, but political provocation. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images/Viktor Drachev)

Attempts by the interim Kyrgyz government to control media coverage of the bloodshed in Osh and Jalal-Abad and to blame its political opponents for the unrest appear to be aggravating tensions in southern Kyrgyzstan. Uzbek community representatives, in turn, charge that the interim government has imposed de-facto censorship to conceal alleged ethnic cleansing in southern Kyrgyzstan.

In what was described as an attempt to stabilize the situation in Osh, officials on June 11 suspended the operations of Osh-based, Uzbek-language media outlets such as OshTV and Mezon TV. Residents in Osh and Jalal-Abad, the two southern towns most affected by the unrest, report that KTR and EL-TR, the only state-affiliated TV-stations allowed to cover the situation, are providing coverage that appears to downplay the scale of the tragedy.

In the latest measure, the Information Coordination Center of the Interim Government distributed a June 14 statement among major Kyrgyz media outlets that urged journalists to use data provided by the interim government as their only source of information, Ferghana.ru reported.

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Conflicting Narratives Add to Tensions in Kyrgyzstan

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