We are concerned at developments in Kyrgyzstan where on Monday and Tuesday authorities searched the premises of several independent media outlets and temporarily detained 14 journalists for questioning.
On 15 January, officers from the State Committee for National Security (SCNS) arrived at the offices of news agency 24.kg in Bishkek, seized equipment and detained for several hours three journalists, including its editor-in-chief. On 16 January, the Ministry of Interior searched several other independent media organisations and detained 11 journalists and media workers for questioning.
These latest actions by the authorities appear to be part of a larger pattern of pressure against civil society activists, journalists and other critics of the authorities.
Arrest or detention as punishment for the legitimate exercise of human rights, including freedom of expression, is arbitrary under international human rights law.
In this context, it is all the more concerning that the Kyrgyz Parliament is considering a draft law on mass media, which would restrict the right to freedom of expression which includes media freedom.
We call on the authorities to protect freedom of expression and ensure that media legislation in the country is in line with international human rights standards.