Media are collateral victims of latest unrest in Osh
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||11 June 2010|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Media are collateral victims of latest unrest in Osh, 11 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c15ef1c1.html [accessed 18 April 2014]|
Reporters Without Borders deplores the impact on the local media of what appears to be a revolution without end. With a referendum on a new constitution scheduled for 27 June, Kyrgyzstan is experiencing a new wave of tension and unrest two months after the rioting that led to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's resignation.
While the difficulties with phone communication and the Internet have abated, several local TV stations have reportedly had to stop broadcasting. The Fergana.akipress.org website said the mayor of the southern city of Osh, Bakiyev's stronghold, had stopped Osh TV, Mezon TV, Pyramidy and DDD from broadcasting but the national media were still operating normally.
Violence erupted between Kyrgyz and Uzbek youths yesterday evening in Osh. Major rioting ensued during the night and fires broke out. Witnesses said mobs armed with sticks were rampaging through the streets smashing shops and post offices. Shooting was also reported.
The Ferghana.ru website spoke of "a crowd out of control, whose motives are unclear." Today, the city centre appeared to be calmer but unrest continued in the suburbs. The current toll of dead has been put at 26.
The new government has decreed a state of emergency in Osh until 20 June and a curfew has been declared. The army has been sent to Osh and access to the city has reportedly been blocked by interior ministry troops. Other cities in the south have been put on a state of alert.
Ethnic differences may have triggered the unrest. Of a total population of 5.4 million in 2009, around 1 million are believed to be of Uzbek origin. The large Uzbek population seems to have been ignored in the proposed new constitution, which makes no accommodation for the Uzbek language.