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Kyrgyzstan Court Orders News Site Shut Down


BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan — A court in Kyrgyzstan has ruled to dissolve a nongovernmental organization that ran a popular news website often critical of the government. 

The court order late Friday to shut down Kloop.kg follows raids on several other media outlets and arrests of their reporters, steps that Western governments have criticized as a crackdown on independent media. 

Kloop.kg’s troubles began last August when state prosecutors filed a lawsuit to have it shut down on the grounds that Kloop Media, its nongovernmental organization (NGO) publisher, was not registered as a media organization. 

Prosecutors also pointed out that many of the outlet’s publications were critical of the government, saying they discredited the authorities of the Central Asian nation. 

The court said that Kloop Media was carrying out activities outside of its charter. 

“The court ruling on Kloop is another nail in the coffin of media freedom in Kyrgyzstan,” Anna Kapushenko, the editor-in-chief of Kloop.kg’s Russian-language version, told Reuters. 

The group said it would appeal the ruling. 

Media in Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic, have long enjoyed greater freedoms than those in other Central Asian countries with more autocratic governments. 

However, under President Sadyr Japarov, who came to power in 2020, the country adopted a law making it illegal for media and individuals to “discredit” the authorities, giving the government a tool to go after its critics. 

Kyrgyzstan is closely allied with Russia and hosts a Russian military airbase.