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Kyrgyz Parliament Approves Bill Banning Foreign Media Ownership

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's parliament has given initial approval to a bill banning foreign individuals and organizations from owning and establishing media outlets in the country.

The proposed legislation also bans activities in the country of media outlets financially supported by foreign countries.

Lawmakers approved the first reading of the bill on June 22 by a vote of 79-30.

The text needs to be approved by parliament in its second and third readings and signed by the president before coming into force.

Civil right activists have protested the bill, saying its main goal is to close RFE/RL's bureau in Bishkek, which has been a major independent source of information in the Central Asian country for decades and is also broadcast by the country's main state broadcaster.

RFE/RL is funded by the U.S. Congress.