Advocate highlights perils facing Kyrgyzstan's journalists
The violence faced by journalists in Kyrgyzstan is cause for ringing an alarm, an official from the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) said Thursday, noting a general setback for press freedom in the countries surrounding Russia.
Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE's representative on media freedom, singled out what he described as the "dramatic deterioration" of the safety of journalists in the Central Asian country,in his last report before he steps down.
Haraszti cited two specific cases: that of Gennady Pavlyuk, who was lured to neighboring Kazakhstan in December and executed, and that of Almazbek Tashiev, beaten to death by police in July of last year. In the case of Tashiev, only two of the several officers seen beating him were convicted, but they were then set free.
Haraszti, who finishes the second of two three-year terms later this month, shied away in a news conference from ranking press freedom success stories or failures. But besides Kyrgyzstan, he noted a general setback on the press freedom commitments by some former Soviet states, including Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He said that neither country has a modicum of private or independent press.
He cited three major challenges facing the media in general: government control of television in many former Soviet states, violence against journalists and efforts by governments to control the internet.
Haraszti, a Hungarian writer and journalist, said he would return to writing when he leaves the OSCE. His successor, who the 56 member states choose by consensus, is slated to be Dunja Mijatovic, the chief regulator of broadcasting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Haraszti said.