Kyrgyz residents read newspapers in downtown Bishkek, March 30, 2005

Kyrgyz residents read newspapers in downtown Bishkek, March 30, 2005

Television is the most popular medium. There are public networks and more than a dozen private stations. Russian networks have a large audience.

Most radio stations are private; a handful aired nationwide. The press sector is experiencing a drop in sales and financial difficulties.

Kyrgyzstan has freer media than neighboring countries, according to press freedom groups.

“Kyrgyz media pluralism is exceptional in Central Asia, but the polarization of Kyrgyz society is reflected in the media,” said Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Self-censorship is a problem, says RSF. The group advocates limits on the damages that must be paid by critical media outlets in libel suits.

There were 3.6 million Internet users in July 2022, or 55% of the population (Internetworldstats.com). Mobile phones are often used to connect.

Instagram is the most popular social media platform with around 1.6 million Kyrgyz users.

US-based Freedom House has criticized the “arbitrary” blocking of websites under anti-extremism legislation.

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