The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called upon the president and government of Kyrgyzstan to follow up quickly on the decision of the Parliament to decriminalise libel and slander.
The IFJ says that the Parliament’s decision is momentous for the region and should now lead to similar actions in all states of the former Soviet Union.
“The Parliament of Kyrgyzstan is blazing a trail for press freedom by ending the threat of imprisonment for journalists who are doing normal job,” said Rachel Cohen, IFJ Human Rights and Information Officer. “It is a signal that should be immediately converted into meaningful law by the government and the president.”
On Monday Kyrgyzstan’s parliament approved a proposal to remove two articles on libel and slander from its criminal code, according to press reports. The proposal will have to get final Parliamentary approval and then approval from the president before it takes effect.
According to reports, Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's has recently taken another step to increase media freedom. On Sunday he withdrew his objections to turning the country’s state radio and TV stations into a public service broadcaster.
The IFJ has a global campaign for the decriminalisation of defamation. Recent success has also come in Cambodia, where earlier this week, the Cambodian National Assembly voted to decriminalise its own laws regarding defamation.
For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide