Guest Blogs

William Horsley

Media freedom requires that the state must stay out of the ring  | William Horsley
Once, it seemed that things could only get better. But then somehow they got worse again. That is my shorthand summary of the path of media freedom in the past 15 years. Read full article
Guest Blogs

Christian Möller

“From Quill to Cursor”* and 140 Characters | Christian Möller
When I first joined the Office of the OSCE Media Freedom Representative in the summer of 2002, a colleague of mine – a senior U.S. diplomat – asked whether I knew “how to google” ... Read full article
Guest Blogs

Leonid Kozhara

A unique institution promoting media freedom | Leonid Kozhara
I would like to express my congratulations on the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media ... Read full article
Guest Blogs

Galina Arapova

Freedom of expression: development, trial, protection | Galina Arapova
In recent years we have seen a rapid change in media environment, we were lucky to witness an unprecedented technological and informational progress.. Read full article
Guest Blogs

Dr. Agnes Callamard

The keys to improve the media freedom situation in the OSCE region and beyond the next 15 years | Dr. Agnes Callamard
The information technology revolution of the last two decades has profoundly transformed print and broadcast media, journalism, the production of news... Read full article
Guest Blogs

Timothy Karr

The Internet’s Growing Pains | Timothy Karr
At 15, the OSCE’s office for media freedom is now half the age of the modern Internet. In 1983, engineers of what was then known as the ARPANET switched over to a communications ... Read full article
Guest Blogs

Begaim Usenova

Kyrgyzstan’s Media Law | Begaim Usenova
In 2010, defamation was decriminalized in Kyrgyzstan. This step was perceived in the world as political will of the country’s leadership to ensure the citizens’ right for freedom of expression and opinion.. Read full article
Guest Blogs

Marietje Schaake

Saving the open Internet requires protecting the rights of its users | Marietje Schaake
Technological developments and the open Internet have led to revolutionary changes and the potential of emancipating individuals, bottom up... Read full article
Guest Blogs

Alison Bethel McKenzie

A great threat to media freedom | Alison Bethel McKenzie
The International Press Institute (IPI), the world’s oldest global media freedom organization, is pleased to mark 15 years since the establishment of the Office ... Read full article
Guest Blogs

Johan Hallenborg

Freedom of expression set to turbo mode | Johan Hallenborg
Swedes are a pretty tech savvy bunch. We like cool, new, shiny gadgets, too. And we start early: last year, half of all three-year-olds in Sweden were on the net... Read full article

15 Years of the Representative on Freedom of the Media

Free expression and free media are basic human rights. The Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media was established in December 1997 to protect them.

Dunja Mijatovic

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and promotes full compliance with OSCE press freedom commitments.

Kyrgyzstan’s Media Law

By Begaim Usenova, Director of the Media Policy Institute, Kyrgyzstan

In 2010, defamation was decriminalized in Kyrgyzstan. This step was perceived in the world as political will of the country’s leadership to ensure the citizens’ right for freedom of expression and opinion, though criminal prosecution for libel in Kyrgyzstan had fallen into oblivion long ago (the last time a journalist was behind bars for libel was 13 years ago). In practice of “Institute for Media Policy”, journalists became defendants in court mainly in cases of protection of honor and dignity.

During 2012, UMP lawyers were defending the interests of journalists in 25 trials in this category of cases. The sums in lawsuits against media are sometimes simply shocking: compensation for moral damage in one of the cases reached one million US dollars! During court proceedings, the lawyers manage to reduce these amounts by thousands times. In 2012, the lawsuits resulting from court decisions actually collected from 100 to 1000 dollars from the media.

Thus, today the Kyrgyz law protects the right for freedom of expression. However, the right to freedom of speech, though a priority, is not absolute. And in case of violation of certain private or public interests, the state represented by the courts interferes with the right for freedom of expression and restricts it.

This state of affairs does not always satisfy the officials who do not fully understand that due to their position they have to tolerate a higher degree of scrutiny and criticism than other citizens. The desire to tighten the law was behind the recent initiative of MP Galina Skrypkina, who offered to complete Article 329 of the Kyrgyz Criminal Code (“Deliberate defamation”) with a provision about deliberate false report with accusation in crime “in a public statement and / or distributed by the media”. In case the law was adopted it would allow law enforcement bodies to initiate criminal proceedings against journalists without trial and application by the plaintiff.

The proposed bill has caused a wave of resentment in the media. As Skrypkina said later, “for the first time a bill has caused a real, not “labored” discussion and showed how journalists and generally the media are able to protect their corporate interests”. As a result of the advocacy campaign by the media community, the MP recalled the initiative, saying: “The discussions showed that there is no need for to defend this bill”.

Now it’s media community’s turn: every day to provide citizens with reliable coverage of the most important changes in the country and comply with the laws of the Kyrgyz Republic.

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Введение в медиа-законодательство Кыргызстана

В Кыргызстане в 2010 году была декриминализирована клевета. Данный шаг был воспринят во всем мире как политическая воля руководства страны обеспечить право граждан на свободу слова и мнения, хотя уголовное преследование за клевету в Кыргызстане давно кануло в лету (последний раз журналист «сидел» по этой статье еще 13 лет назад). В практике ОФ «Институт Медиа Полиси» журналисты становились ответчиками в суде в основном лишь по делам о защите чести и достоинства.

В течение 2012 года по данной категории дел юристы ИМП защищали интересы журналистов в 25 судебных разбирательствах. Суммы судебных исков против СМИ иной раз просто шокируют: компенсация морального вреда по одному из дел достигла 1 млн долларов США! В ходе судебных разбирательств защите удается снизить эти суммы снизить в тысячи раз. В 2012 году реально взыскано со СМИ по решению судов, вступивших в законную силу, от 100 до 1000 долларов.

Таким образом, сегодня законодательство Кыргызстана защищает право свободно выражать свое мнение. Однако право на свободу слова хоть и является первоочередным, все же не является абсолютным. И в случае, когда нарушаются определенные частные или общественные интересы, то государство в лице судов вмешивается в право свободно выражать мнение и ограничивают его.

Подобное состояние дел не всегда удовлетворяет должностных лиц, которые не до конца осознают, что в силу своей деятельности им надлежит мириться с более высокой степенью внимания и критики чем остальным гражданам. Именно о желании ужесточить законодательство говорит недавняя инициатива депутата Галины Скрипкиной, предложившая дополнить статью 329 Уголовного Кодекса КР («Заведомо ложный донос») положением о заведомо ложном сообщении с обвинением в совершении преступления «в публичном выступлении и/или распространенном в СМИ». В случае принятия закон позволил бы правоохранительным органам возбуждать уголовное дело против журналистов без суда и заявления потерпевшей стороны.

Предложенный законопроект вызвал целую волну возмущения в медиа-среде. Как сказала позже сама Скрипкина, «впервые законопроект вызвал настоящее, а не «вымученное» обсуждение, показал, как журналисты и в целом, СМИ умеют отстаивать свои корпоративные интересы». В результате проведенной медиа-сообществом эдвокаси-кампании депутат отозвала инициативу, заявив: «Обсуждение показало, что пока нет необходимости в отстаивании данного законопроекта».

Теперь очередь за медиа-сообществом: каждый день обеспечивать граждан достоверным отражением наиболее важных изменений в государстве и соблюдать законы КР.