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RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service: Radio Azattyk

Radio Azattyk is a trusted news leader, with a history of contributing to Kyrgyzstan's democratic transition. It is known for coverage of public corruption, violence against women and girls, and environmental conservation.


  • Operating out of Bishkek bureau, Radio Azattyk has been a media leader in Kyrgyzstan for seventy years.
  • Azattyk reports on corruption and abuse of authority, which led to changes in government.
  • Responds to Russian and Chinese malign influence: Published exclusive interview with ethnic Kyrgyz woman tricked by Chinese Embassy to cross border into China and sent to an internment camp in Xinjiang.
  • Published investigations revealing Russia used Kyrgyz airbases for war in Ukraine.
  • Uncovered at least 90 military contractors from Russia's Tuva Republic were forced to fight in Ukraine, where some died in battle.
  • Report about repeated rape of a young girl in Bishkek sparked nationwide outrage and condemnation from the United Nations and Kyrgyz government.


  • Recognized as among most active Kyrgyz media organizations.
  • Report “People who Found the Path to Green Energy” won EU Contest on Renewable Energy for Central Asian Journalists.
  • Radio Azattyk's reporters were honored as the best in a contest on gender equality.
  • Documentary about Kyrgyz women who work in Turkey screened during Women's Cinema Week.


January – December 2022

  • Website: 18.8 million visits; 35.9 million page views
  • Facebook: 92.8 million video views; 18.7 million engaged users
  • YouTube: 175 million views; 1.87 million subscribers
  • Instagram: 203 million video views; 3.3 million followers

Updated: April 2023

Media Climate

  • Kyrgyz government blocked websites (October 2022); froze bank account (November 2022); and threatened to shut down Azattyk completely. Bishkek City Court approved a settlement agreement between RFE/RL and the Kyrgyz Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy, effectively annulling an April 27 ruling approving the government’s request to revoke Azattyk's license (July 2023).
  • Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index ranks Kyrgyzstan 72nd out of 180 countries and says that “officials are trying to strengthen censorship.”

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