Index 2024
120/ 180
Score : 49.11
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
122/ 180
Score : 49.91
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

With relative freedom of expression and of the press, the country was an exception in Central Asia despite an unstable economy and rampant official corruption. However, it is now experiencing an upsurge in pressure on the media.

Media landscape

The government still controls all traditional media and is trying to extend its influence to privately owned outlets. A degree of pluralism exists, as seen in the popularity of news sites such as 24.kgt, and, as well as the growth of investigative and data journalism. But these outlets are being harassed and, of late, their situation has become critical. Radio and television continue to be the main news sources for most of the population.

Political context

Kyrgyzstan, with an unstable and polarised political environment, has experienced three revolutions since its independence in 1991. Some media outlets are used by political leaders to advance their personal interests. Public institutions restrict journalists’ access to information. More and more websites are arbitrarily blocked, as has been the case for Kloop. Media outlets and journalists are raided and prosecuted on the basis of false accusations, especially those who publish investigative reports on those in power. 

Legal framework

In recent years, officials have tended to reinforce censorship and adopt laws restricting press freedom. President Sadyr Japarov has signed a law on protection against “false information”, which violates the constitution and international treaties. A proposed media law that would include disproportionate penalties and a vaguely worded re-registration requirement risks further restricting press freedom.

Economic context

Massive official support for pro-government publications distorts competition between outlets. Under pressure from the authorities, leading private-sector companies refuse to advertise in independent media outlets. The authorities are preparing to pass a law, similar to one in Russia, that would label independent media that receive financial support from abroad as “foreign agents”.

Sociocultural context

Because of the high level of corruption in the country, investigative reports on the topic are valued and seem to be the subject of growing public interest. But much of society is also swayed by government propaganda portraying independent media as “enemies of the people" and “slaves of the West”.


Independent media face a new wave of pressure. In the space of a few hours on 16 January 2024, the police arrested 11 journalists who work or had worked for the investigative YouTube channel run by Bolot Temirov, who was illegally expelled from Kyrgyzstan in 2022. Investigative reporters are often convicted, especially on defamation charges, when they criticise the authorities, and news sites are often the targets of cyberattacks after publishing articles about corruption. Investigative journalists are targets of violence, as were reporters at protests until they were banned in the capital in March 2022.