Kyrgyzstan Political Orientation
Government Type: Currently, Parliamentary Republic; however, President Japarov wants to restore Kyrgyzstan’s presidential system.
Leader: President Sadyr Japarov
Political Party: Mekenchil – “Patriotic” Political Party
Political Position: Right, Kyrgyz Nationalism, Populism
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 38.46 Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Kyrgyzstan 122/180
Reporters Without Borders praises Kyrgyzstan for freedom of expression and press, also drawing attention to its “unstable economy and rampant official corruption.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Kyrgyzstan has experienced three revolutions since its independence from the Soviet Union (1991), which took place in 2005, 2010, and 2020, bringing the current President Sadyr Japarov. Japarov was freed from prison by protesters during the October 2020 revolution (third). In 2021, by referendum, Kyrgyz Voters approved constitutional changes that expanded the President’s powers. Therefore, Kyrgyzstan will soon be more like its Central Asian neighbors with a Presidential system.
In analyzing media ownership, Kyrgyzstan TV is the most popular medium, while social media is popular among young people. The government still controls media directly and indirectly. For example, the public service media, the National TV & Radio Broadcasting Corporation (NTRBC KR ), or KTRK, is government-funded, and it operates 6 TV channels and several radio stations. Among them, the most popular TV channels are Ala-Too 24 and Madaniyat.Tarih.Til., and top-rated Public Radio station “Birinchi Radio.” Another state-owned broadcaster is the TV channel Pyramid. The State also owns a few newspapers, such as Kyrgyz tuusu and Slovo Kyrgyzstana (The Word Of Kyrgyzstan).
There are also privately-owned media outlets such as the tabloid Super Info and Vecherniy Bishkek. However, these outlets also depend on the government’s advertisements and sponsors (mainly politicians and business people).
According to Human Rights Watch, in 2021, Kyrgyzstan’s parliament passed a controversial law on Protection from False and, Inaccurate information. According to this law, an “authorized state body” can shut down or block websites; therefore, this ‘false information’ law threatens Kyrgyzstan’s free expression and media freedom.
In conclusion, although the media in Kyrgyzstan has greater freedom than its neighbors, the government still controls the media directly and indirectly by passing new laws which critics say may further increase censorship. Just like in neighboring countries, the state is expanding its control over the media, resulting in censorship and a decline in press freedom.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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