The authorities routinely hounded the country’s few independent media outlets in the run-up to parliamentary elections on 27 February 2005, fearing a general uprising as thousands of demonstrators protested again the exclusion of some opposition candidates. The “Tulip Revolution” overthrew President Askar Akayev on 24 March after 14 years in power in the former Soviet republic and the media scene was transformed.
The arrival in power of opposition leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev in July raised the media’s hopes, but the situation changed little. Self-censorship is still common and criticism of the president rare. The new government is trying to regain control of privately-owned TV stations by purchasing shares in them through private investors.