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Kyrgyz Deputies Seek to Ban Fergana.ru


Uzbekistan -- A stamp that appeared on the homepages of several news organizations protesting the blocking of websites, Jun2008.

Uzbekistan -- A stamp that appeared on the homepages of several news organizations protesting the blocking of websites, Jun2008.

The Kyrgyz parliament has adopted a
resolution calling for a news website to be banned, RFE's Kyrgyz and Uzbek
services report.

The parliament deputies said on June 17 that fergana.ru "ignites
ethnic hatred" among Uzbeks and Kyrgyz and therefore should be blocked.
Deputies officially recommended that the Prosecutor-General's Office take
measures to try to prevent access to the website in Kyrgyzstan within three
months.

The decision was based on a suggestion by the parliamentary commission that investigated the deadly ethnic clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern Osh and Jalal-Abad regions last year.

Danill Kislov, the chief editor of the Russia-based website, told RFE that
Kyrgyzstan would not be the first Central Asian country to ban fergana.ru. He
said Uzbek officials did the same in 2005 after the site covered the
massacre of protesters in the Uzbek city of Andijon by security forces.

Kyrgyz deputy Tursunbai Bakir Uulu, who has previously served as the country's
ombudsman, told RFE that the decision to block the site was correct. He said
in order to prevent deadly ethnic clashes similar to those that took place last
year -- when more than 400 people were killed -- it is necessary to block the
site.

Bakir Uulu added that he recommended to parliament that two other websites in
the country -- dizel.kz and parus.kz -- also be blocked as they "try to create
tensions between ethnic groups in the country."

Bishkek-based journalist Akmat Alagushev told RFE that the parliament's
decision to pass the resolution was incorrect.

He said those kinds of decisions mean "the introduction of censorship in
Kyrgyzstan." Alagushev added that it is not even technically possible to fully
block a website from readers.

Media rights activist Tattu Mambetalieva told RFE that in taking such action
the parliament "has made a wonderful advertisement for fergana.ru."


Compiled by RFE's Uzbek and Kyrgyz services and O wire.
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