Kyrgyzstan - Media

Telephone links to other former Soviet republics are via land line or microwave, and to other countries through Moscow. The telephone network is underdeveloped, with some 58,000 residents waiting for telephone lines as of 2000. In 1997 there were an estimated 351,000 telephones in use.

Dom Radio in Bishkek broadcasts in Kyrgyz, German, Dungan, and Russian. In 1998, there were 12 AM and 14 FM radio stations. Television programming is provided through Orbita and INTELSAT. In 2000 there were 111 radios and 49 television sets in use per 1,000 population. In 2001, there were 51,600 Internet subscribers.

In 2002 there were four daily newspapers. They were Sovetik Kyrzystan (circulation 162,625), Slovo Kyrgyzstan (in Russian, circulation 111,000), Vecherni Bishkek (also in Russian, with a circulation of 51,500), and Kyrgyz Tuusu (NA).

On 2 July 1992 the government passed a law on the press and mass media which supports freedom of the press but also provides guidelines proscribing publication of certain information. The law supports the right of journalists to work, obtain information, and publish without prior restraint. The law prohibits publication of state secrets, material which advocates the overthrow of, or changes to, the existing constitutional order in Kyrgyzstan or elsewhere. It also prohibits publication of material that advocates war, violence, or intolerance toward ethnic or religious groups. Desecration of national norms, ethics, and symbols like the national seal, anthem, or flag is prohibited. Publication of pornography is prohibited, as is propagation of untrue information.

The press is free to publish material without prior government approval or restraint, although some infringement of press freedoms was reported as of 1999.

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