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Freedom House Calls On Kyrgyzstan To Loosen Media Controls


Opposition parties and NGOs protest on March 15 against the crackdown on RFE/RL's affiliate stations.

Opposition parties and NGOs protest on March 15 against the crackdown on RFE/RL's affiliate stations.

Freedom House says a decision by Kyrgyz authorities last week to block broadcasting and Internet access to U.S. government-funded news services underscores a "growing concern for freedom of expression in Kyrgyzstan."

RFE/RL's affiliate television station Echo of Manas halted programming on March 10 after what the U.S.-based rights watchdog said were government threats to terminate its broadcast license.

Four RFE/RL radio affiliates and two non-U.S. news websites, Centrasia.ru and Ferghana.ru, were also forced to shut down.

Freedom House said in a statement that "Kyrgyzstan once set the standard for tolerance, expression and democratic process in Central Asia."

It has called on the government to re-affirm its commitment to that standard.

With agency reports
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