OSCE representative urges Kyrgyzstan to halt violent attacks against journalists
Miklos Haraszti, representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), called on Kyrgyz authorities on Tuesday to do everything in their power to halt a wave of attacks against journalists, which is threatening media pluralism ahead of the presidential election.
According to OSCE's press release on Tuesday, Haraszti said in a letter to Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Kadyrbek Sarbaev that Kyrgyzstan's journalists have recently endured an upsurge of brutal attacks, including two this month alone, while many previous cases have still not been resolved.
The two new incidents, both in June, involved an editor of the pro-opposition newspaper Achyk Sayasat, who needed hospital treatment after an assault by unknown attackers, and personnel from the Independent Bishkek Television channel, who were attacked while on duty by four unidentified assailants.
Haraszti noted in the letter that this wave of attacks is worrisome, no only because it threatens the safety of journalism, but also because it "endangers pluralism vital in an election year, " referring to the presidential election scheduled for July 23.
Haraszti wrote to kyrgyz foreign minister in March and May this year, asking for information on three other cases of violence involving four journalists, and repeated his request in the latest letter.