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IRIS 2010-10:1/34

Kyrgyzstan

New Constitution Adopted

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Andrei Richter

Moscow Media Law and Policy Centre

On 27 June 2010 a new Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic was adopted via a national referendum. It replaces the previous edition of the act that was adopted on 21 October 2007. The 2007 Constitution replaced in its turn the 2006 edition (see IRIS 2007-2:15/25).

Unlike the earlier 1993 Constitution all later editions including the new one did not forbid censorship (although such a ban still exists in the 1992 mass media law). The new edition no longer forbids parliament to adopt a statute which would limit freedom of speech and of the press. Other guarantees of freedom of expression and of the press remain in place.

The new Constitution expands the notion of freedom of information and adds the right to seek information to the existing right of everyone to freely receive, obtain, keep and use information, and to disseminate it in oral, written or any other form (para. 1 Art. 33). It also guarantees everyone access to information on the activity of governmental and local bodies, their officials, entities with governmental participation, as well as any entity funded from the national or local budget (para. 3 Art. 33). Para. 4 of Art. 33 stipulates that everyone is guaranteed access to information kept by governmental and local bodies and their officials in the order stipulated by a statute (such a statute was indeed adopted in 2006).

The Constitution outlaws criminal defamation by stipulating that no one shall be prosecuted under criminal law for disseminating information that is defamatory or denigrating to one’s honour and dignity (para. 4 Art. 34). Thus Kyrgyzstan becomes the first country in Central Asia to ban criminal prrosecution for defamation.

References
Конституция Кыргызской Республики KY
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=12784
 
  Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic