Proposed legislation in Kyrgyzstan criminalizing LGBT-related information poses a threat to free speech and free media, says OSCE Representative
VIENNA, 17 October 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today said that members of the Kyrgyz Parliament should reconsider legal provisions criminalizing LGBT-related information.
“These amendments are so vaguely worded and open for interpretation that, if adopted, they will have consequences for freedom of expression and media freedom. Even those who report on instances of LGBT discrimination could be prosecuted under these provisions,” Mijatović said.
One of the key provisions of the amendments, which were approved by the Kyrgyz Parliament on 15 October in the first reading, specifically addresses media freedom issues with regard to LGBT-information. Anyone found creating “a positive attitude towards non-traditional sexual relations using the media and information and communication networks, including the Internet” could face prison sentences of up to one year.
The Representative noted that in the past few years there have been notable achievements in reforming the media legislation and promoting media freedom in Kyrgyzstan.
“But criminal provisions like the proposed legislation on LGBT-related information and the recent de facto reintroduction of criminal defamation go against positive steps taken and should not become a trend in restricting opposing voices in Kyrgyzstan,” Mijatović said.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.