We are concerned by the passage of legislation that makes libel a criminal offense. This legislation purports to counter false media information, but instead may have a chilling effect on free speech in Kyrgyzstan. The U.S. Embassy urges that this amendment not be signed into law. Instead, we urge the President, government and Parliament to live up to the democratic promise of Kyrgyzstan and strongly endorse freedom of speech and expression as fundamental rights of Kyrgyzstan’s people.
As President Obama has said, “History shows that one of the ingredients of successful, prosperous, and stable societies is a free press where citizens can freely access information and hold their governments accountable.”