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Kyrgyzstan Seeks Stronger Power To Shut Media Outlets

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's government has proposed legislation that would allow it to shut down media outlets without court decisions.

Justice Ministry spokesman Emir Zulpuev told RFE/RL on January 30 that under proposed amendments to the Central Asian nations law on media, the ministry would be empowered to close media outlets if their owners are pronounced dead or and there is no legal successor.

Zulpuev said a media outlet could also be shut down if its owner's company is liquidated or if the owner's legal status as an entrepreneur is annulled.

He said the bill would also enable the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism to file lawsuits against media outlets on the basis of public complaints.

The amendments also would oblige media outlets to inform Justice Ministry about chief editors' change.

Media rights advocates in the former Soviet republic said such a law would be a powerful instrument in the hands of the state and could be used to crack down on independent and opposition media.