Threats to Journalists: Kygryzstan
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- Affiliate managers in cities including Bishkek, Naryn and Jalal Abad reported being warned by Kyrgyz authorities in March, 2010 that they would face difficulties in renewing their broadcast license if they continued to air the RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service’s widely viewed “Inconvenient Questions” and “Azattyk Plus” programs. Efforts to suppress the broadcasts continued until anti-government protests brought down the government on April 7, 2010.
- Alisher Saipov, an ethnic Uzbek freelance journalist who reported for VOA Uzbek Service and RFE/RL from the Kyrgyz city of Osh, was shot dead at close range as he left his office on October 24, 2007. Saipov, a 26-year old with a 3-month old daughter, reported extensively for VOA on a variety of sensitive political issues. He also worked for RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service in 2001 and 2002, and continued to appear regularly on RFE/RL programs addressing human rights, media freedom, and political developments in Uzbekistan. Saipov focused on the volatile Ferghana Valley, which straddles Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan and is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism. Saipov had told friends security forces from Uzbekistan were following him in Osh. Days before his murder, he was the subject of a state-orchestrated media attack broadcast on Uzbek television. Kyrgyz authorities initiated an investigation following his murder, but suspended it in February 2008, reportedly in response to pressure from the Uzbek government