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Kyrgyzstan6 April 2007

Letter to kyrgyz authorities about wave of violence against journalists

Reporters Without Borders has written to the Kyrgyz authorities voicing deep concern about a wave of physical violence against journalists in the past three weeks.

The most recent case was an attack on Talantbek Sopuev, a reporter with the privately-owned television station TV September, who was beaten by about 40 men and women on 31 March while covering a pro-government rally in Djalal-Abad. He is still in hospital with severe multiple bruising.

Daniyar Isanov, a news presenter on the independent TV station NTS, was beaten up by four men on 27 March in Bishkek and is still hospitalised with serious facial injuries. State television presenter Kayrat Birimkulov was attacked and beaten by two men as he was returning to his home in a Bishkek suburb on 16 March.

Reporters Without Borders said in its letter that it had also received information about “acts of intimidation and violence against other media personnel.”

In view of these attacks on journalists, Reporters Without Borders called on the authorities “to do everything in your power to put an end to this violence and to bring about a significant improvement in the conditions for exercising free expression.”

According to the Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Bishkek, no one has been brought to trial for a physical attack or murder of a journalist in the past 15 years.

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