The Kyrgyz parliament has approved amendments to the country's Criminal Code that make "spreading false information via the media" illegal.
According to the amendments -- approved by parliament on April 16 -- individuals who are found guilty of using media outlets to intentionally spread false information will be fined up to $4,000 or jailed for up to five years.
Lawmaker Eristina Kachkarova, who proposed the legislation, said at the parliament session that the amendments are not intended to target journalists or media outlets.
However, Kyrgyz lawmaker Omurbek Abdrakhmanov called for a revision of the amendments on April 17, saying that parliament had approved the bill without realizing that it would affect media freedom.
According to Abdrakhmanov, several nongovernmental organizations have raised concerns about the new legislation, saying it might violate the rights of Kyrgyz journalists.
Based on reporting by KyrTAG and Interfax