News Digest

Jul 04, 2020

Media Digest

Jul 04, 2020


Bi-weekly CAW Media Digest.
The Digest provides updates on
the most recent developments in Central Asia.
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Kyrgyz lawmakers have passed new legislation aimed at fake news on the internet, but opponents of the bill see it as a dangerous step towards state censorship of the fledgling investigative journalism field in the country. The bill's writers struggled to define how exactly the legislation would function and how "truth" would be ascertained. All that remains now is for President Jeenbekov to approve the bill.
Uzbekistan's infamous cotton induustry has gone a long way towards ending forced labor and child-labor, but Umida Niyazova writes that the real challenge will come in the form of changing the industry's relationship with civil society. The country's police forces still target human rights activists, and it is difficult to imagine any genuine or long-lasting reform with such an oppressive political climate.
As is the case with many countries across the globe, the Central Asian states have been struggling to deal with reopening their economies. COVID-19 cases have exploded after initial optimism about testing capabilities and lock-downs in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and the all of the countries in the region have dubious reporting and testing regimes in place.
The long saga surrounding former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev is finally drawing to a close, with a court recently handing down a 11 year sentence. Mr. Atambayev was charged with corruption and property expropriation charges upon losing his presidential immunity, and his initial attempts to arrest him lead to public riots and an armed show-down with state security forces at his compound. Mr. Atambayev claims that the charges are politically-motivated.
Paul Goble writes about the growing disconnect between Russian Central Asian policy and the realities facing diplomatic involvement in the region. Recent remarks by an Uzbek commentator about Russia's role in Central Asia have drawn a number of heated responses by Russian analysts.
A dozen US Senators called upon all five of the Central Asian States to release their "prisoners of conscience." Individuals mentioned in the statement are generally human rights activists who have been imprisoned on politically-motivated charges or after flawed court proceedings.

CAW Team