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Political Parties Have Signed the Freedom of Speech Agreement

On 24 September, representatives of the media sector organized a meeting with the political parties that are running for the election to Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic (the Parliament).

Initiated by the representatives of the media sector, the event presented the Freedom of Speech Agreement, encouraging the political parties to endorse the initiative and the sector’s vision of the reforms in the media sphere.

In his address Bolot Temirov, Editor of “Factcheck.kg” Internet Portal, stressed that he was “Glad to note that the society in general and representatives of the media sector have consolidated to defend the freedom of speech by openly expressing their discontent with the draft laws that infringe the rights of journalists, bloggers and regular users of social networks”.

The participants also shared the problems that are faced by the media sphere and the respective solutions.

The Parliament should adopt such new laws and by-laws that will encourage and promote freedom of speech. Elected figures, state and municipal servants should be exposed to fair criticism for their actions or inactions”, said Semetei Amanbekov, Editor of “Elgezit.kg” Online Newspaper, in his presentation.

Anna Timofeenko, an independent journalist, made the following suggestion: “It is important to ensure legal protection of mass media, state agencies and citizens, so as to defend them from cyber-attacks and cyber- threats. It is equally important to introduce norms that stipulate the shortest possible time span for state agencies, local self-government and other organizations to which the Government is a party to review media’s requests for access to information”.

Invitations to participate in the meeting were sent to all 16 political parties that are participating in the parliamentary elections. 15 parties have joined the Agreement, including “BIRIMDIK (UNITY) Democratic Party”, “Mekenchil”, “YIMAN NURY Political Party of Justice and Development”, “Mekenim Kyrgyzstan”, “Reforma”, “Ata Meken”, “Zamandash”, “Butun Kyrgyzstan”, “Social Democrats of Kyrgyzstan”, “Meken Yntymagy”, Political Party of Afgan War Veterans and Participants of Other Localized Armed Conflicts, “Ordo”, “Bir Bol”, “Respublica” and “Chon Kazat”. Thereby, the future parliament members have demonstrated their commitment to the ideas, as specified in the Freedom of Speech Agreement. Representatives of the media sector decided to monitor the political parties that will be elected to Jogorku Kenesh (7th Convocation), and to implement norms that promote freedom of speech.

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