EU says it is concerned by Kyrgyz crackdown on independent media

BISHKEK (Reuters) – The European Union expressed concern on Friday about the detention of a number of journalists in Kyrgyzstan and searches at the offices of media outlets which have been critical of the government.

Kyrgyz authorities detained 11 journalists this week, accusing them of inciting unrest, and raided the offices of and Temirov Live media outlets. The United States Department of State said on Thursday it was “deeply concerned” by the move.

In a statement the EU delegation to Kyrgyzstan and embassies of member countries expressed “concern about the extensive searches and confiscation of private property of independent media offices and the detention of journalists in Kyrgyzstan.”

Expressing different opinions and engaging in independent journalism are part of exercising universal human rights and freedom of expression, they said, urging Kyrgyzstan to stick to its international obligations and legal norms.

Zhanysh Barakov, a lawyer for one of the detained journalists, told Reuters they have been held in custody until March 13.

(Reporting by Aigerum Turgunbaeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, Editing by William Maclean)