Kirghizistan1 February 2005
Phoney e-mail messages sent to discredit opposition
Reporters Without Borders today called on the head of the State Agency for Communications, Andrei Titov, to investigate a disinformation campaign in which messages designed to discredit a number of opposition figures were somehow sent on around 8 January from e-mail addresses belonging to the opposition websites Gazeta.kg and Centrasia.ru without the knowledge of those in charge.
"It is essential that the author or authors of these e-mail messages are quickly identified as this kind of disinformation is all the more serious when it comes just a few weeks before parliamentary elections," the press freedom organisation said. The elections are due to take place on 27 February.
The messages were sent from the following addresses: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. One, entitled "A faded rose before blooming," criticised former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, who is now one of the opposition leaders. Mambetjunus Abylov, a former minister who is now also an opposition figure, was accused of corruption in another of the messages.
Ulan Melisbeck, the head of the Gazeta.kg site, said the campaign’s aim was to discredit his online newspaper. An article posted on the site on 12 January said Gazeta’s technicians carried out an investigation and discovered that the false messages were sent from Kyrgyzinfo.kg, a site that belongs to the president’s son-in-law, Adil Toigonbayev. Melisbeck said they were drafted by Turat Akimov, a former journalist with the official news agency Kabar who now runs Kyrgyzinfo.kg.