VIENNA, 4 July 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, regretted today a Kyrgyzstan court decision to fine journalist Vladimir Farafonov.
A district court in Bishkek yesterday sentenced Farafonov to a 50,000-som, or 847-euro fine on charges of inciting interethnic hatred in online newspaper articles.
“I have been following this case since its onset and raised it in a letter to Foreign Minister Ruslan Kazakbayev on 14 March. Although I am relieved that the court did not follow the recommendations of the public prosecution and did not sentence Farafonov to eight years in a penal colony, I believe that yesterday’s verdict might negatively influence the journalistic community in Kyrgyzstan,” Mijatović said.
“I commended the Kyrgyz authorities when they decriminalized defamation in July last year, which was an important step forward. I strongly believe that while following standards of professional ethics, journalists should be able to write on sensitive issues.”