In October 2020, a coup d’etat took place in Kyrgyzstan, after which the government changed in the country. Since then, there has been an increase in intimidation of journalists and threats against independent editorial offices. In addition, deputies began to initiate bills against the media more often. In material, we show the change in freedom of speech after the events of October 2020. Using real examples, we talk about the methods of pressure on journalists and media, about the dual reaction of the authorities. The material refers to a number of criminal cases, intimidation, and bills against freedom of speech.
After the publication of this material, most of our readers noted that they also noticed the deterioration of freedom of speech in the country. In addition, media experts use our data in their reports.
Our material became a finalist in the Central Asian competition “Media Camp Fest 2022”, where more than 800 works from five countries of Central Asia took part.
In creating the material, we collaborated with the organization “Institute Media Policy”, which provides legal support to journalists. They provided us with additional data. Additionally, we requested data on criminal cases against journalists from the Prosecutor General’s Office. However, they only gave a generalized answer. In addition, we conducted a content analysis of the media, where we had to do web data scraping.
Context about the project:
After the change of government in October 2020, an active struggle is being waged in Kyrgyzstan against independent journalists and the media. Independent journalists carried out investigations involving high-ranking officials and their relatives. After that, active intimidation and beating of journalists, initiation of criminal cases, framing with drugs and attempts to close down the media began. The authorities have also repeatedly made attempts to pass bills that would restrict freedom of speech. In addition, the material refers to the twofold, selective actions of the authorities.
What can other journalists learn from this project?
We have collected unique data from different sources and combined it into one material. Other journalists can use it absolutely free of charge. It should be noted that other media have already released material based on our data.