Report.IMP.December 2013

Media Policy Institute
Monthly narrative report
Reporting period: December 1 – December 31, 2013
Provided by: Ainura Eshenalieva
Date of submission: January 1, 2013

I. Resume

For the reporting period Media Commissioner Akmat Alagushev defended interests of mass media representatives in five court cases, one of them was successfully finished and court decided to reduce the amount of appeal from 100 000 soms to 10 000 soms, rest cases are in process now.
Media Policy Institute conducted an expert meeting with participation of judges from Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court, MP’s from Jogorku Kenesh of the Kyrgyz Republic (Tekebaev O.Ch., Kochkarova E.A.) and others. The subject of the meeting – consequences of unconstitutionality of Article 128 Insult of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic.

For the reporting period MPI staff conducted several meetings with the representatives of international organizations, media resources and state bodies.

II. Key Results This Month

1. Legal assistance to legislative drafters/government officials/NGOs/Media organizations

III. History

1. Legal assistance to legislative drafters (government officials/NGOs/Media organizations);
2. Increase of public discussions on politics in the media sphere and the quality journalism issues.

1) 28.11 – MPI staff participated in a round table “The right to free mass meeting in the Kyrgyz Republic”

The roundtable was held with the support of OSCE Centre in Bishkek. It was attended by the Head of the OSCE in Bishkek Kapinos S.P, the Minister of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic Shykmamatov A.N, the Director of «Freedom House» in Bishkek Dukenbayev A, and etc. During the round table the results of the monitoring of the issue of peaceful gatherings that was conducted since 2011 were summed up: quantitative and qualitative indicators; Compliance with the Law “On peaceful gatherings” in the part of the restriction and cessation of meetings, etc.

2) 02.12.-03.12. MPI attended the Public Dialogue “General directions of the development of the elections system of the Kyrgyz Republic”
The meeting was conducted by the Working group on improvement of election system in KR under support of OSCE Center in Bishkek, IFES and USAID. The meeting was attended by the leaders of the Parliament fractions: Tekebayev O.Ch., Kulov F., Tursunbay Chynybekov, as well as by the representatives of the Central Elections Committee and the civil society. During working days the issue raised by MPI earlier in conjunction with other media organizations was also discussed – an appeal to the Working Group on the rebroadcasting.
Results: despite of public organizations proposal the norm about rebroadcasting was left unchanged.
Please refer to the appeal of Media organizations to the head of working group Narymbaev D.I. to improve the electoral system as of August 6, 2013, by the following link http://www.media.kg/appeals-and-declarations/.
3) 03.12 – Participation as an expert in the annual research project ” Media Sustainability Index ” to assess the situation of the media in Kyrgyzstan in 2013

Organized by: International Council for Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)

Participants: Representatives of print and electronic media, news agencies, media organizations, and universities from all regions of the republic.

From MPI participated Alisheva N., A. Alagushev
Total: 14 (men – 7, women-7)

Objectives: To provide the experts in the field of media, politicians, sponsoring organizations, the government and other stakeholders with a comprehensive assessment of the media for the past year.

Each expert, taking part in the research, must determine the strength and stability of the media according to five common “indicators” below by completing the questionnaires:

1. Legal and social norms protect and promote freedom of expression and access to information which is a public property.
2. Journalism meets professional standards of quality
3. Numerous sources of information provide citizens with reliable objective information
4. Media is effectively managed enterprises, ensuring editorial independence.
5. Organizations protecting professional interests of independent media

It is necessary to give an assessment to the numerous “indicators”, i.e. answer to 302 questions. This makes it possible to do comprehensive evaluation of the achievements of mass media sector by many factors, defining the level of its openness, professionalism and economical sustainability.

4) 05 – 06.12 – National seminar “How mass media recourses cover economical portrait of Kyrgyzstan”?

Organized by: Center of International private entrepreneurship, NED, Institute of the Development.

Participants: Editors and journalists of mass media of Kyrgyzstan (general mass of print media from regions), media experts, training centers, NGOs, international organizations, experts.

Purpose: To strengthen the journalists understanding of the context of Kyrgyzstan as a country that develops market economy and the rights, to raise the quality of economic journalism through the use of comparative data

Objectives:
1. Provide journalists with an opportunity to discuss the practice of use of macroeconomic data by media to determine the location of Kyrgyzstan in the world economy.
2. Familiarize journalists with ratings and databases, indexes, and other tools for the development of an analytical comparison of journalism.
3. Convey to the journalists basic principles on the use of statistics in analytical and economic journalism.

Reports:

1. Results of the research of print media in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States, 2010-2013, N. Dobretsova the director of the Institute of Development Policy, Kyrgyzstan.
2. Kyrgyzstan in international ratings: Dynamics for 2005-2013, Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies, Kyrgyzstan.
3. Macroeconomic data as a tool of economic journalism, J. Romanchuk – Director of the Center “Strategy”, Belarus.
4. Role of the media in the implementation of human rights to be rich and free,
J. Romanchuk – Director of the Center “Strategy», Belarus.
5. Consequences of a lack of quantitative data in the media, poverty and lack of freedom, Namazaliev M. – Central Asian Free Market Institute , Kyrgyzstan .
6. Consequences of incorrect use of data in the media: the backlash of public policy, Satybekov B. – independent expert, Kyrgyzstan.
7. What is the statistics and how to use statistical data by journalists? Features of statistical data analysis, representatives of the National Statistical Committee

Results:

Current experience shows that:

1. Journalists slightly use the comparison of data to describe a particular economic phenomenon and convey its essence, make assumptions, and analyze possible developments;
2. Journalists feel difficulty in using macroeconomic data about Kyrgyzstan, do not view the situation in comparison with other countries ;
3. Journalists use statistical data incorrectly or ineffectively.
4. It is necessary to help journalists understand the power of statistics as applied to economics and the law through the development of special training “Economic Journalism.”

5) 10.12. – Round table “Public consultations on amendments to KR legislation in connection with transition to digital broadcasting”

Organized by: Ministry of culture, information and tourism of the KR, Public alliance “Digital Kyrgyzstan”, Program “Media support” and project “Policy on transition to digital TV radio broadcasting: analysis and recommendations of civil society” Fund Soros-Kyrgyzstan.

Participants: more than 60

Deputies from Jogorku Kenesh of the KR, the President Apparatus, the Government Apparatus, Ministry of Culture, information and tourism; Ministry of transport and communications of the KR, Ministry of finances, Ministry of economy, State agency of communications, State and Private TV radio companies, media communities, media NGO, international organizations and programs (OSCE, Soros-Kyrgyzstan).

From MPI – Alagushev A., Alisheva N.I.

Reports:
1. Key challenges and recommendations for legislation in connection with the transition to digital broadcasting in the Kyrgyz Republic, an independent expert, member of the expert group of the Soros Foundation -Kyrgyzstan – Mamyrkanov E.
2. Necessary changes in legislation: approaches and risk assessment for the transition to digital broadcasting, the lawyer of the “Politics of transition to digital broadcasting in the Kyrgyz Republic “, a member of the expert group of the Soros Foundation -Kyrgyzstan – Baykulova I.
3. Recommendations to the draft resolution and the provisions of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic “On the formation of social software package ethereal digital terrestrial broadcasting”, Ch. Specialist of the information policy of the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism – Ivanov.

Results:
1. Speakers reported about the problems encountered the expert group in the preparation of the amendments to existing legislation.
2. Provided a draft legislative documents for analysis and proposals :
– Draft Law “On making amendments and additions to some legislative acts of the Kyrgyz Republic” (the laws “On telecommunications and postal services,” “On normative legal acts of the Kyrgyz Republic”, “On licensing system in the Kyrgyz Republic”, “On Television and Radio”;
– Draft Law “On TV and radio companies”;
– Draft Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the draft of the Regulation “On the procedure of registration of mass media in the Kyrgyz Republic.”
– Draft Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the draft of the Regulation “On the formation of Social software package ethereal digital terrestrial broadcasting.”
3. Decided that all comments and suggestions on the draft laws should be submitted to the Deputy Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism Temirbekova A.

6) 17.12 – Expert Meeting on bringing art. 128 “Insult” of the Criminal Code in line with the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic

Media Policy Institute conducted an expert meeting with participation of judges from Constitutional Chamber, JK KR Deputies (Tekebaev O., Kochkarova E.), representatives from Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court. The main subject of discussion is recognition of the article 128 “Insult” of the Criminal Code as unconstitutional. In particular they discussed mechanisms of further actions of legislative body, how will be used changes or additions for the humiliation of honor and dignity.
www.constpalata.kg – website of Constitutional Chamber of the KR.
Organized by: PF Media Policy Institute under the support of National Endowment for Democracy.
Participants of the meeting: the judges of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, members of the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, consultants from the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic, MPI and other interested persons.

Objectives:
1. Eliminate contradicting provisions of the Criminal Code with the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic. Part 5 of Article 33 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic (from 2010) sets out the ban on prosecution for disseminating information discrediting or humiliating honor and dignity, but acting article 128 “Insult” of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic actually criminalizes the dissemination of information humiliating honor and dignity.
2 . Discuss the position of the Constitutional Chamber in deciding on unconstitutionality of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic and to consider alternative ways of resolving the situation.

Handouts:

1. Extracts from the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic
2. The decision of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic on the recognition of Article 128, “Insult” of the Criminal Code inconsistent with Article 33 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.
3. Information on the review of the Constitutional Chamber of the case on the constitutionality of Article 128 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic ( the criminal case on the recognition of a person guilty of insulting another person ) .

Results:

1. Taking into consideration that the decision of the Constitutional Chamber instructed the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Supreme Court to develop mechanisms for alternative (non-criminal) protection of individuals from abuse, it was decided to jointly discuss the options with all government agencies involved in the meeting.

II. Key Results This Month

Legal assistance to legislative drafters/government officials/NGOs/Media organizations

Court cases

1. In Pervomaiskiy District Court of Bishkek to defense honor, dignity and business reputation and compensate moral damage for the amount 10.000.000 soms from the newspaper “Alibi” applied Jaichibekov P., Japarbaev О and others. They ask to recognize untrue the information published in the article of this newspaper. Dates of hearings 28.11-06.12.2013. During the last hearings on December 6, 2013, the case was temporarily suspended in connection with the appointment of theological expertise.

2. The Director of JSC “Ak-Keme” Sarymsakov Ruslan Adykanovich applied to Sverdlovskiy district court against the JSC “5th Channel”, and author of the program “My history” Ksenia Kiss in order to defend honor, dignity and business reputation. He asks to recognize untrue the information in the program “My history” in a video “Where the white boat goes?” showed on July 3 at “5th Channel”. Dates of hearings 30 August 2013, 31 October, 2013, and 12 December, 2013. The case was temporarily suspended in connection with the sickness of the defendant.

3. In Sverdlovskiy district court of Bishkek with an appeal to defend honor, dignity and business reputation and compensation of moral harm in amount 100 000 soms from the newspaper Asia-News applied the Head of forensic medical examination department of Issyk-Ata district Karagulov J.J. (Asia-News is a public-official, private newspaper with circulation 5000 copies). Karagulov demands to recognize information published in the newspaper untrue. Dates of consideration 23 September, 04 November, and 27 November, 2013. On December 9, 2013, according to the decision of Sverdlovskiy district court of Bishkek the appeal of Karagulov was partially satisfied. The newspaper had to recover 10000 soms compensation (approx. 200 USD)

4. In Sverdlovskiy district court of Вishkek applied Bubel Grigoriy Yakovlevich (former head of the State Penitentiary Service, a retired general, now retired / businessman) to defend his honor, dignity and business reputation and to compensate 50 000 000 soms (1 million USD) from the weekly newspaper “Dengi I vlast”. He demanded to recognize the information in the article «BUBELGATE SCANDAL» or “How to make money at the corpse and the living in Kyrgyzstan” of the author Maksim Korsakov as untrue. After the consideration the judge Bazaralieva A.M. decided to forbid publishing the full story of Maxim Korsakov: «BUBELGATE SCANDAL» or «How to make money at the corpse and the living in Kyrgyzstan.” Private complaint was filed to the Bishkek City Court. The hearings were on September 12, 2012, October 18, 2012, December 03, 27, 2012. On February 14, 2013, the case was postponed to indefinite period due to the plaintiff’s appeal against the City Court decision to challenge the composition of city court collegium.
On December 19, 2013, the case was started again. The next date of hearing is January 20, 2014.
Note. Bubel Grigoriy is Kyrgyz general who worked with the first Kyrgyz Republic President A.Akaev, according to M.Korsakov’s information Bubel was involved in high-profile murders of politicians in Kyrgyzstan.

5. In Leninskiy district court of Bishkek applied Head of the President Apparatus of the Kyrgyz Republic Narymbaev Daniar Ilich in order to defend his honor, dignity and business reputation and compensate moral damage in the amount 100 000 soms from the newspaper Asia-News. Asia-news is a public-political newspaper with circulation 5000 copies. Plaintiff asks to recognize information in the newspaper’s article “Ажонун тубуно Данияр менен Икрам жетеби?…” as untrue. The hearings took place on 18.12.2013. Next hearings scheduled to 27.01.2014.

Juridical consultations

1. Consultations for the Central-Asian website (written)

a. Article. Why Kyrgyz media refuse voluntary refutation of false information? Expert opinion.
http://medialawca.org/posts/03-12-2013/77081.html, posted on 03.12.2013

b. Certificate of evidence of human rights on the Internet. http://medialawca.org/posts/12-12-2013/77353.html, December 12, 2013.

c. In what document spelled out the procedure of the meetings of parliament, and when journalists can be admitted to the closed session? http://medialawca.org/posts/23-12-2013/77585.html

2. Preparation of documents

– Collection of material for the preparation of the Expert meeting on bringing art. 128 “Insult” of the Criminal Code in line with the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic

– Preparation of handouts for participants

a. Extracts from the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic (Articles of the Criminal Code and the Civil Code, the Constitution).
b. The decision of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Kyrgyz Republic on the recognition of Article 128, “Insult” of the Criminal Code inconsistent with Article 33 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.
c. Information on the review of the Constitutional Chamber of the case on the constitutionality of Article 128 of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic (the criminal case on the recognition of a person guilty of insulting another person).
d. Selection of materials for the experience of other countries on the replacement of alternative protection of the person at the insult.

3. Work in the framework of juridical project

• Monitoring of introduction of MPI proposals to draft laws

MPI Recommendations (proposals) on amendment of the law of the KR “On introduction of additions and changes to the law of the Kyrgyz Republic on the order of consideration of citizens’ appeals” that was sent to the Kyrgyz Parliament in March of this year were taken into account when law was adopted in July 2013.

History:

The bill was prepared in October 2012 in order to increase the capacity of citizens to appeal to the government or local authorities, as well as increasing the speed of sending and consideration of such appeals taking into account the Internet development.

The bill proposed to equate electronic appeals to the usual appeals – both written and spoken, that give electronic appeals the official status. The bill was obliging the State or local government to create conditions for accepting electronic applications of citizens and responding to the appeals by e-mail. The bill proposed to consider the electronic appeals within 30 days (this is the same time as when a written appeal is sent by post).

Our proposal was:

Reduce the time of response to electronic appeals of citizens and legal persons to up to 14 days. The following arguments were given: The law “On access to information held by public bodies and local authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic” as of 2006 was already introduced, stating that any written or electronic appeals should be considered within 14 days. Besides, the Provisional Regulation “On the procedure for the dissemination of information in the State Internet Portal”, approved by Presidential Decree, established a much shorter period for a response – “within five working days of receipt of the request for information.”

• • Analysis of the draft Decision of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the draft Regulation “On the procedure of registration of mass media in the Kyrgyz Republic.”

The aim of these projects is to pass the database accumulated by the Ministry of Justice of the KR on media registration (electronic version), including archival documents, to the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic.

MPI has prepared its recommendations and sent to the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Offers of MPI:

1. In the draft Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic the word ” base ” is used improperly and does not meet the completeness of documents, as in this case it should mean an aggregate database (electronic ordering of materials, including the registry) and written documents of the applicants (filed in folders, including the archive).

2. Draft Resolution should be supplemented with another item – determine the fate of the current resolution of the Government of the KR dated 08/19/92, N410 (as amended on 13/04/95, the N127) «On the procedure of registration, collection of fees and amount of fees for certificates of registration of mass media in the Kyrgyz Republic” and the Regulation on the registration of mass media. And accordingly, the question arises about the current state of existing Regulation that was approved by that resolution – to cancel completely or some parts of it (all this must be specified in the Resolution).

3. Consider the rationality, to avoid mentioning in the new Regulation the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic, given the fact that each the government changes the name of the Ministry changes as well. There were cases when word “information” was not mentioned at all and this area was not supervised and regulated. Quite acceptable option when the full text of the Regulation is a reference to the “authorized state body in the field of registration of mass media.” It would be wise to designate a state body that would be in charge of the registration process and stipulate it in the Governmental resolution.

4. Should take into account the imperfection of existing legislation in the definition of the media, because the Law refers Mass Media to newspapers, magazines, annexes, almanacs, books, newsletters, recurrent publications and TV/radio broadcasters. In fact, media is a product and therefore, relates to an object (book, magazine). However, in our legislation there was a mixture of objects and subjects – objects were supplemented with subjects – TV/radio broadcasters, who are legal entities with all the attendant circumstances. Therefore TV/radio broadcasters as legal entities cannot be registered even as the media, however they were included to Media Registration Application attached to the Regulation.

During development of new instruments we do not correct deficiencies in the law but again leave the inconsistencies (going the wrong way).

5. The Regulation mentions “editorial office”, but there is no legal determination of such term. Consequently, such provisions in the legislation would be misleading.

• The analysis of the bills on the transition to digital broadcasting.

We are working on draft laws on the development of changes in legislation during the transition to terrestrial digital broadcasting, provided by the expert group at the Round Table (12.10.13) devoted to the issues of the development of legislation.

This draft laws:

– “On making amendments and additions to some legislative acts of the Kyrgyz Republic” ( the laws “On telecommunications and postal services,” ” On normative legal acts of the Kyrgyz Republic”, “On licensing system in the Kyrgyz Republic”, “On Television and Radio”;
– “On TV and radio companies”;
– Draft Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the draft of the Regulation “On the formation of Social software package ethereal digital terrestrial broadcasting.”

4. Inventory Kyrgyz legislation

Draft legislation, developed by an expert group under the “Politics of transition to digital broadcasting in the Kyrgyz Republic” was sent for posting at Media Law website:

1. The draft law “On introducing amendments and addenda to some legislative acts of the Kyrgyz Republic” (the laws “On telecommunications and postal services,” “On normative legal acts of the Kyrgyz Republic”, “On licensing system in the Kyrgyz Republic”, “On Television and Radio” ;
2. The draft law “On TV and radio companies “;
3. Draft Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the draft of the Regulation “On the procedure of registration of mass media in the Kyrgyz Republic.”
4. Draft Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the draft of the Regulation” On the formation of Social software package ethereal digital terrestrial broadcasting .”

5. Consultations, comments

MPI provided 14 consultations on the issues of media legislation.

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