On Wednesday, September 13, internet providers in Kyrgyzstan began blocking access to Kloop.kg, a popular independent news site and part of IPI’s global network of independent editors, media and journalists.

The access block was requested by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Culture, following a complaint by Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee of National Security, which demanded the removal of an article from Kloop’s website, claiming it contained “false information”. The article reported claims by a Kyrgyz opposition politician, who alleged that he had been tortured while under arrest. The text mentioned both the politician’s allegations as well as a comment by prison authorities denying these. In parallel, prosecutors in Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek have sought the dissolution of the legal entity Kloop Media, on the basis that the media outlet allegedly “discredited authorities” and that its reporting was “negative in character”.

IPI sees these actions as a coordinated attack on independent media in Kyrgyzstan, a country long seen as a civil liberties pioneer in Central Asia. For this reason, IPI today addresses the Chairman of Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee of National Security (GKNB), the country’s national security service and the main institution responsible for the accusations made against Kloop. IPI demands an immediate end to attacks on Kloop, as well as against all other independent media in Kyrgyzstan.



Kamchybek Tashiev
Chairman of the State Committee of National Security (GKNB)
State Committee of National Security of the Kyrgyz Republic
70 Erkindik Street
720040 Bishkek

Sent via email to:
[email protected]


Dear Chairman Tashiev,

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of independent journalists, publishers and media outlets, is writing to you to express our deep alarm over the recent restrictive measures taken against Kloop Media, a member of the IPI network and a nominee for this year’s global IPI-IMS Free Media Pioneer award.

It was only two months ago that in a positive move, Kyrgyz authorities allowed the free functioning of Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz-language service of another IPI network member, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In this context, the move against Kloop Media seriously undermines Kyrgyzstan’s international commitments to press freedom. 

As you will be aware, on August 28, the office of the prosecutor of Bishkek filed a lawsuit with the local October and Pervomayskiy District court, demanding the dissolution of Kloop on the baseless grounds that Kloop’s reporting is “negative in character, aimed at discrediting representatives of state and local authorities”. The copy of the lawsuit text, published online by Kloop, also said that a criminal case had been opened against the outlet, on undisclosed charges. The lawsuit went on to claim that Kloop contributed to destabilizing the situation in Batken region.

While we understand that the criminal case in question has for now been suspended, a hearing linked to the lawsuit demanding the shutting down of Kloop is still planned for the second half of September.

The claims made in the lawsuit do not stand up to scrutiny. The role of independent media in any democracy is to provide news and information on issues of public importance. This includes publishing information that is critical of the authorities or that challenges official narratives. This watchdog role is an essential element of media freedom and is fundamental for democracy and public debate.

In this light, publishing information about the economic situation of a region experiencing insecurity on its border with Tajikistan cannot be seen as putting Kyrgyzstan’s security at risk but is information of public interest.

We further note with concern that the Ministry of Culture has recently formulated a demand to remove an article from Kloop’s website, threatening to block the page if this is not done. On September 11, the Ministry of Culture refused an appeal against this demand, formulated by Kloop’s lawyers. Kloop’s editors refused to delete the article and Kloop’s site has since been partially blocked by some of Kyrgyzstan’s internet providers.

According to the Ministry, Kloop disseminated “false information” by reporting allegations by an opposition politician that he had been tortured while under arrest. The Ministry’s demand, made on request by the GKNB which you chair, represents a serious violation of media freedom. We reiterate that the media have the right to cover issues of public relevance, including information which may be uncomfortable for the government. Meanwhile, the authorities should not have the power to declare which information is true or false, especially when this leads to demands for censorship.

As is the case with the Bishkek prosecutor’s lawsuit demanding the shutting down of Kloop, according to both our own review and analyses made by media lawyers in Kyrgyzstan, the request made by the Ministry of Culture has no legal basis. Kloop did nothing more than publish a factual article on a topic of high social interest, presenting both the claims made by jailed opposition politician Ravshan Dzheenbekov, a statement made by prison authorities denying his claims, as well as a balanced comment on the case by an independent non-governmental organization.

Given this situation, we reject all suggestions that Kloop’s publication can in any way be interpreted as “false information”. IPI calls on the GKNB to withdraw its effort to censor Kloop’s reporting, and immediately cease attempts at intimidating independent media across Kyrgyzstan.

IPI recognizes that Kyrgyzstan has had a proud tradition of upholding civil liberties and media freedom in particular, standing out as a regional leader in this respect. This makes recent efforts to pressure independent media all the more alarming. We appeal to Kyrgyz security authorities, headed by you, Mr. Tashiev, to continue this tradition and ensure that media can freely operate in Kyrgyzstan and fully play their democratic role.




Frane Maroević, Director
International Press Institute (IPI)


Ministry of Culture of the Kyrgyz Republic
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic
Bishkek City Prosecutor’s Office