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Media Freedom

Kyrgyz supreme court refuses to #FreeAzimjon; U.S.-China tit-for-tat media visa war continues

At the 2019 International Press Freedom Awards, guests could speak up for imprisoned journalist Azimjon Askarov by writing him a message of support or solidarity on a newspaper. (CPJ)

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The Kyrgyz Supreme Court upheld journalist and human rights defender Azimjon Askarov’s life sentence, denying his final appeal. Askarov’s health has been steadily deteriorating since being imprisoned in 2010, his family told CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Gulnoza Said when she travelled to meet with them and visit Azimjon in prison. The threat to his health is exacerbated by the spread of coronavirus. Despite years of campaigning to #FreeAzimjon and CPJ’s recent efforts to #FreeThePress globally amid the pandemic, Kyrgyz leaders have nonetheless upheld the injustice.

The U.S. placed more visa restrictions on Chinese journalists, the latest development in the escalating tit-for-tat media visa war between the U.S. and China, which began in February when China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters. CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler unpacked the latest developments in an Instagram Q&A this week.

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