Free press organizations are reporting that in the run up to the demonstrations that toppled the Kyrgyzstan government yesterday, the government hit back at independent media reporting the anti-government demonstrations.
Authorities intimidated broadcasters to end critical programming, blocked access to alternative news online and suspended independent newspapers. Thirteen Kyrgyz media organisations released a statement last month saying the blocking of independent news sources is a “coordinated attempt to deprive Kyrgyz citizens of information covering the major events which occur in the country,” reports [Kyrgyzstan-based Public Association Journalists]. Dozens of activists, opposition politicians, and members of parliament and youth and media organisations protested restrictions on the media in the capital on 15 March
Full report from IFEX: Media freedom trampled amid clashes between protesters and government
One thing I wonder about is the lack of previous reporting on the place.
Actually, I understand that it is a distant and remote place with little “news value” for most editors. But it is a place the U.S. used to jump off into Afghanistan in 2001. It is a place we had to send a boatload of money to in order to keep our bases for support of the the war in Afghanistan open.
So, it seems to me that at least some reporting about the nature of the government we were dealing with would have been appropriate. All I could find in a quick Google search of American media — that excluded the recent revolt stories — were a couple of pieces on the announcement Kyrgyzstan wanted the U.S. out, some travel guide pieces and an article on melting glaciers.
The overseas media did better with some articles on the series of demonstrations over the past few months and the dangers they posed to the government.