Television channel critical of president closed in Kyrgyzstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — A court in Kyrgyzstan has ordered the closure of the private TV channel Sentyabr (September) after ruling that it broadcast extremist content, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

The Birinchi Mai District Court in Bishkek ruled on August 22 that the digital television channel, which is known for its criticism of President Almazbek Atambayev, must stop operations both online and on air.

Representatives of Sentyabr said they had not been told about the case until they were informed of the August 22 hearing shortly before it began.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office accused the channel of airing an interview with the former chief of police in the southern Osh region, Abdylda Kaparov, that insulted then-Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov and his brother, lawmaker Asylbek Jeenbekov.

Kaparov alleged in the 2016 interview that the Jeenbekov brothers might have used $3 million in state funds to instigate deadly ethnic clashes in Osh between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 2010.

Jeenbekov resigned from the post of Prime Minister on August 21 to focus on his campaign for the country’s presidential election scheduled for October 15.

President Almazbek Atambayev on August 22 accepted Prime Minister Jeenbekov’s resignation and appointed Deputy Prime Minister Mukhammetkalyi Abulgaziev as interim prime minister and asked the outgoing government members to continue carrying out their duties until a new cabinet is formed.

Jeenbekov was nominated for the presidency by the pro-presidential Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan.

Atambayev, who has been in office since December 2011, is constitutionally barred from running for a second term.

Sergey Kwan

TCA