Kyrgyzstan blocks broadcast of BBC, Euronews ahead of election

Staff report

2011-10-08

BISHKEK – Broadcast of a number of Western news channels, including the BBC, Euronews, and CNN have been blocked by Kyrgyz authorities ahead of the country's October 30 presidential election, Fergananews.com reported October 8, citing Taty Mambetalieva, a member of the election monitoring team of the Citizen's Initiative: Internet - Politics NGO.

She said the channels have been blocked because the companies carrying the signals do not know which information to block.

Kyrgyzstan has a law that requires foreign news and information programming to be taped during election campaigns, and any derisive information about political candidates to be deleted before broadcast.

A number of Russian and Kazakh TV and radio channels, have already been blocked, with either taped news programming broadcast with some delay, or music and films replacing news programming, Fergana reported.

The OSCE Office for Democracy and Human Rights election observation mission in Bishkek has called on Kyrgyz officials to end limitations on foreign media broadcasts October 6 in its first Interim report on the Kyrgyz pre-election situation, news media reported October 7.

While the report said there is no legitimate basis for limiting foreign media broadcast during the election campaign, the OSCE noted that Kyrgyzstan is the first Central Asian country to decriminalise libel.

Most Kyrgyz presidential candidates have focused their campaigns speeches on the economy, privatisation, corruption, law and order as well as national unity in their campaign speeches, the report added.

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