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Journalists in Trouble: Kyrgyz Government Escalates Attack on RFE/RL

Kyrgyzstan - A march in support of free speech, November 25, 2022
Kyrgyzstan - A march in support of free speech, November 25, 2022

Kyrgyz parliament suspends accreditation of RFE/RL journalists; Ukraine charges FSB officer for torturing Vladyslav Yesypenko; and more.


KYRGYZSTAN: Government Escalates Attack on RFE/RL

On November 17, the Kyrgyz parliament suspended the accreditation of seven RFE/RL correspondents, barring them from reporting from the legislature. The suspension is part of Bishkek’s crackdown on RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Radio Azattyk. Kyrgyz authorities blocked Radio Azattyk’s websites in October after it refused to take down a video on clashes at the border with Tajikistan, and subsequently froze the Service’s bank account.

“This escalation by Kyrgyz authorities appears to violate Kyrgyz law. We will fight this attempt to silence our journalists," said RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly. “Radio Azattyk is a trusted source of news and should be allowed to continue to operate unimpeded.”

RFE/RL is grateful to Kyrgyz media; international media freedom organizations; U.S., EU, and OSCE officials; and U.S. lawmakers for condemning the Kyrgyz government’s actions. We urge you to call on the Kyrgyz authorities to immediately lift the restrictions on Radio Azattyk, to stop harassing independent journalists, and to work instead to foster a free media environment.


RFE/RL Imprisoned Journalists Ihar Losik, Andrey Kuznechyk, and Vladyslav Yesypenko
RFE/RL Imprisoned Journalists Ihar Losik, Andrey Kuznechyk, and Vladyslav Yesypenko

BELARUS: Write to Our Imprisoned Journalists

On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on November 2, RFE/RL remembered imprisoned Belarus Service journalists Andrey Kuznechyk and Ihar Losik, and Ukrainian Service journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko held in Russian-occupied Crimea.

November 25 marked one year since Andrey was detained. He is currently serving a six-year sentence in a maximum-security prison, convicted of “creating or participating in an extremist organization” in a closed-door trial that lasted no more than a few hours. Ihar has been imprisoned since June 2020 and is serving a 15-year sentence. On October 18, Belarusian authorities detained Ihar's wife, Darya Losik.

We encourage you to write to Andrey and Ihar. Both journalists are being held at: Penal colony No. 1. 211440, Navapolack, vulica Techničnaya 8, Belarus. Although letters may not be delivered, they demonstrate continued outside interest to the Belarusian authorities.

UKRAINE: FSB Officer Charged Over Unlawful Detention and Torture of RFE/RL Journalist

A Ukrainian prosecutor launched criminal proceedings against a Russian FSB officer on November 21 over the unlawful detention and torture of RFE/RL journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko. A Ukrainian official speaking anonymously told RFE/RL that the suspect was Denis Vladimirovich Korovin. Ukrainian officials have accused Korovin of using physical force, electric current, and psychological pressure to extract a false confession from Vladyslav.

In March 2021, FSB officers detained Vladyslav in Crimea where he was reporting on social and environmental issues. A Russian court sentenced him to six years in prison for the alleged possession and transport of explosives, a charge he has steadfastly rejected.

RFE/RL has called on Ukrainian authorities to prioritize securing the release of wrongfully imprisoned journalists in Crimea, including Vladyslav.


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About Journalists in Trouble

Journalists in Trouble is a monthly report of incidents targeting RFE/RL journalists and their work, and developments affecting press freedom in our coverage region.​

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