The "draconian" initiative of parliamentarians, who intend to rein the media workers continue to be discussed not only in the professional sphere of journalists. Civil society activists are in solidarity with the written and shooting profession: such legislative demarches of the Parliament members do not contribute to the development of democratic principles, proclaimed in Kyrgyzstan. And to the freedom of speech as well.
Maria Orlova - our colleague, also decided to express her opinion. She believes that these amendments do not have anything dangerous, as some members of the media try to represent it. 24.kg news agency considered it possible to publish her opinion, different from others.
- Deputies of Parliament adopted, the so-called, Law "On misleading information on commission of a crime", which was sent to the President for signature. Only the President can put an end to the disputes between supporters and opponents of the amendments to the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic.
There is a talk about the bill, which adopted by deputies of Parliament not so long ago, on amendments to the Article 329 of the Criminal Code. MPs changed the title of the article from "Misleading accusation" to "Misleading information on commission of a crime". Furthermore, there is a criminal liability for misleading report of a crime in the media. Henceforth, it is punishable by a fine of 500 to 1,000 calculated indicators (50-100,000 soms) or imprisonment for up to 1 year. A false report of a grave crime or especially grave crimes committed by or for the benefit of an organized group or criminal community is suggested to punish by fine of 1,000 up to 2,000 calculated indicators (100-200,000 soms) or imprisonment for a term of 1 up to 3 years.
According to one of the initiators of theamendments - the MP from Ar-Namys faction Eristina Kochkarova, developers of the bill think primarily not about the media as the main objects of the impact of amendments, but about the politicians, who are increasingly with impunity use the media to settle accounts with opponents. "You see that, under the slogan of fighting corruption, often sound public and unsubstantiated allegations can be heard," she says.
-People need to know that there is rule of law, we can not accuse anyone of a crime without grounds. If we say that freedom of speech is a principle of democracy, we should not forget that the presumption of innocence is also a principle of democracy, guilt is proved only in the court," Eristina Kochkarova adds.
She has supporters not only in the Parliament. According to some experts, such amendments to the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic will bring down a wave of publications in Kyrgyz publications containing false accusations against the country. Experts say that the authors of these "ushakov" (gossip) now will better think for hundred times before accusing anyone of all mortal sins.
- Under the Constitution, a person is not to be liable for his own statements by his opinion, for slander. For such offenses one should be prosecuted in a civil manner. But if you inform about a crime somewhere, there is another matter. Crime - is a particularly serious action, and here it is necessary to understand the difference between the prosecution of an offense and insult. If I accuse someone of corruption, I have to have evidence, because corruption - it's a felony. I have no right to accuse someone without evidence," Eristina Kochkarova notes.
It is significant that among those who supported these amendments, there are human rights activists. There are those, who believe that there is no danger for the media and freedom of speech.
"This law was intended to replace the concept of "misleading accusation" to "misleading message" due to the negative connotation of the word "accusation"... Journalists, before writing this or that article, must be mindful of the inadmissibility of spreading false information what prevents their existing civil law. But amendments to the Criminal Code regarding "false reports" don't have to do with them, including the Article 33 of the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic, which sets guarantee ban on prosecution for dissemination of information, discrediting or humiliating honor and dignity," the Institute of Media Policy assures. Recall, the sphere of the NGO - the protection of journalists' rights in Kyrgyzstan.
It is worth noting that in the world there are many examples of criminal prosecution for slander. Statutory criminal liability for defamation and false reports in the media is enshrined in a number of European countries - Belgium, Austria, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden.
For example, in Germany the one who deliberately distributes misleading facts that defames a person or humiliate him in front of the public or threaten its solvency, is punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years or a fine. Imprisonment for up to 5 years or a fine can be written off in Germany for slander in a public speech at the meeting or through the dissemination of written materials. With this, dissemination of misleading information or grossly distorting statements to obstruct the operation of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) is punishable by imprisonment for up to 5 years or a fine. For a period of 3 months to 5 years in German criminal law shall punished a person, who in a public speech at the meeting or through written materials spread slander against a person playing the role in the political life of the people, including the purpose of hindering social activities of this political figure.
Severe punishment - including imprisonment for slander and public insult, including in the media - is provided in 19 U.S. states. However, it did not prevent the U.S. Embassy to make a statement about the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code of the country on false reports (the words "on commission of a crime" were somehow omitted in the text of the statement). Diplomatic representation expressed the view that "the bill intends to counter the false information in the media, but can also adversely affect the freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan," and called on the President, the Government and Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic not to sign the amendments and to "adhere to democratic prospects in the development of Kyrgyzstan and strongly support freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right of the people of the republic."
As Barack Obama said, the history "shows that one of the conditions for a successful, prosperous and stable society is a free press, where citizens have free access to information and accountable government." This quote is contained in the statement of the U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Thus, as by catch phrase of Jupiter and the bull? Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi. Again, these notorious double western standards. By the way, I addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Kyrgyzstan and asked their representative to comment on this point. "There won't be any comments," the embassy answered.
Whatever it is, the last word in this debate is for the president. And today, at stake there is not only an honor of public figures of political and social life in Kyrgyzstan, but the professionalism of journalistic fraternity of our country. After all, this amendment is not by chance called the law on the reliability of information.