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A court in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek on Thursday rescheduled for March 15 the hearing of a request by the country’s Culture Ministry to close down Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s local branch, called Radio Azattyk.
Radio Azattyk’s website was blocked in Kyrgyzstan in October 2022 and its bank accounts frozen under national money laundering laws, over a video report about clashes on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in the Batken region.
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The Kyrgyz government is requesting to shut down a radio station that released a video report on violence on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border in the Batken region.
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According to the Culture Ministry, the coverage violates Kyrgyz media law, which bans “propaganda of war, violence and cruelty, national, religious exclusion and intolerance to other peoples and nations.” The website ban was declared “indefinite” in December 2022.
The Reporters Without Borders group condemned the Culture Ministry’s move to seek Radio Azattyk’s closure, saying the case poses “a major new obstacle to press freedom” which is “under growing pressure” in Kyrgyzstan.
Fighting on the disputed border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan killed at least 94 people and wounded over 100 in September 2022, the deadliest clashes in years.