Today the U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, Pamela L. Spratlen, toured the Media Support Center Foundation (MSCF), Kyrgyzstan’s first independent printing press. She delivered remarks to journalists on the importance of a free press and congratulated Kyrgyzstan on its comparatively high level of media freedom and notable improvements, including the 2011 decriminalization of libel. She continued, however, that much still needed to be done. She noted that in 2011 at least eight journalists were attacked or intimidated, but none of the crimes were prosecuted. She also pointed to the government’s blocking of the regional news website fergananews.com.
The Ambassador paid tribute to journalists who have risked their safety, and in some cases, sacrificed their lives to deliver the truth. She encouraged Kyrgyzstan to continue its path of reform and its journalists to continue to seek the truth. Following the event the Ambassador answered journalists’ questions and gave a couple of short interviews, including to Kyrgyzstan’s Channel 5.