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Kyrgyzstan: President Calls on Prosecutor to Withdraw RFE/RL Lawsuit

In a partial change of heart, Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev has advised his top prosecutor to withdraw a libel lawsuit against RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz service, Radio Azattyk.

Atambayev issued his instructions on May 12, six weeks after he met in Bishkek with the US-funded broadcaster’s chief executive, Tom Kent.

“In the time that has elapsed since the meeting, a positive trend has been noted in the activities of Azattyk, which has been producing more balanced and considered radio and print coverage,” the president’s office said in a statement.

Independent news website Zanoza.kg — which was the other target of the five lawsuits, worth a total of 30 million som ($440,000), filed for what the General Prosecutor’s Office said was libelous reporting about Atambayev — does not look likely to benefit from any such reprieve.

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Kyrgyzstan: President Calls on Prosecutor to Withdraw RFE/RL Lawsuit

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