Bishkek cuts access to regional news site

Feb 23, 2012
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Acting on an eight-month-old resolution passed by Kyrgyzstan’s parliament, a state-run Internet company has blocked one of the region’s top independent news sites, according to Radio Free Europe.

On 21 February, Kyrgyztelecom cut off user access to Ferghananews.com, an independent, Moscow-based news outlet. The resolution to block the site was passed unanimously in June in response to what legislators called the site’s “subjective” coverage of the country’s ethnic violence the year before, which they said “ignites ethnic hatred,” according to EurasiaNet.

Reporters Without Borders condemned the action in a statement saying, “Blocking a news website that is as professional and impartial as Ferghana’s is a major step backward for a country that aspires to be ’Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy.’ ”

It is still possible to access the site in Kyrgyzstan using other Internet providers, according to RFE/RL. This is not the first time the site has been banned. It was blocked in March 2010, a few weeks before the overthrow of President Kurmanbek Bakiev, according to NewEurasia.net. Ferghananews.com is also banned in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and has been blocked for periods in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan.

(Photo: Flickr user Gilad Rom,Creative Commons license)


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Transitions Online

Transitions Online (www.tol.org) is an Internet magazine that covers political, social, cultural, and economic issues in the former communist countries of Europe and Central Asia. The magazine has a strong network of local contributors, who provide valuable insight into events in the region’s 29 countries.
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