Political parties in Kyrgyzstan commit to combatting Hate Speech during upcoming election campaign

On September 4 2020, representatives of 13 political parties in Kyrgyzstan signed a Memorandum of Understanding, which was elaborated with the support of Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) in Kyrgyzstan.

The memorandum is similar to a code of conduct, and outlines principles guiding the parties’ behaviour during the campaign ahead of the 4 October parliamentary elections. It was developed with support of the WFD in Kyrgyzstan in co-operation with the Central Electoral Commission and PF “Civic Platform”, a civil society organisation that supports the electoral process in Kyrgyzstan.

WFD, the Central Election Commission and Civic Platform worked together in developing the memorandum and held consultations with political parties on the text. A key element of the Memorandum is a commitment to avoid Hate Speech, especially via the internet, social media and other channels. The signing of this Memorandum helps to guarantee a transparent election process, based on democratic principles.

WFD’s support for the memorandum was carried under our Media Dialogue project, which is implemented by a consortium of five organizations lead by European Partnership for Democracy. The consortium includes the Media Policy Institute, ARTICLE 19, ALDA – European Association for Local Democracy, and Westminster Foundation for Democracy. The project aims to improve the quality and responsibility of the media as a driving force of democracy and a stabilizing factor in its coverage of the election cycle and other socially significant events.

The official signing ceremony of Memorandum was attended by leaders of thirteen political parties, representatives of election commissions, civic and international organizations, media and civic activists.

During the event, Head of Central Election Commission of Kyrgyzstan, Nurzhan Shaildabekova Karmabekovna, delivered a welcoming speech. She said:

“Honesty and transparency of the electoral process will be a distinctive of these elections. And by signing the memorandum, political parties agree to multiply efforts to make elections fair and transparent. They also agreed not to use social media to denigrate opponents, and not to use Hate Speech”.

Aigul Baiburaeva, country representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy in Kyrgyzstan, said:

“The Memorandum is an agreement, participants of which undertake to act exclusively within the framework of the law, not to use Hate Speech, not to distribute materials containing threats of violence, hostility and libel and other sets of rules. The signing of the memorandum will help to ensure that elections are fair and based on democratic principles”

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