Kloop

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Kloop
Formation2007
Founder
  • Bektour Iskender
  • Rinat Tuhvatshin
Founded atKyrgyzstan
TypeMedia
HeadquartersKyrgyzstan

Kloop is a media organization based in Kyrgyzstan famous for its news website and journalism investigations. Founded in 2007, Kloop gained prominence in Kyrgyzstan three years later, when it investigated criminal activities of the son of the president of Kyrgyzstan[1][2]. Today Kloop is one of the most popular news websites in Kyrgyzstan[3].

History

Kloop was founded in 2007 by journalists Bektour Iskender and Rinat Tuhvatshin. Since the very beginning, Kloop has been working with young journalists, who were trained at its own journalism school. In February 2010 Kloop's young reporters investigated how Maxim Bakiyev, son of then Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, gained illegal control over Kyrgyztelecom, the country's largest communications provider[1][4]. After receiving threats for attempts to continue the investigation[5], Kloop became even more famous two months later for its coverage of the Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010|revolution, during which Bakiyev and his family were ousted and forced to live in exile[2][6].

Work

Samaragate investigation

In 2017 Kloop published one of its most famous series of investigations about violations at that year's 2017 Kyrgyz presidential election|presidential election in Kyrgyzstan. Called Samaragate by Kloop itself, the series focused on a website called Samara that contained voter information and was hosted on a government server. According to the investigation, this website was used as a voter management system by the campaign of the elected president Sooronbay Jeenbekov to track and influence voters[7][8]. The investigation was the result of Kloop's cooperation with Qurium, a digital forensic organization based in Sweden that helped track where the suspicious website was hosted[9].

Authorities of Kyrgyzstan threatened to sue Kloop for this series of stories[10], but this threat was never materialized.

Soon after publishing Samaragate, Kloop was invited to become the first ever Central Asian member of the global investigative journalism network run by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)[1].

Plunder and Patronage investigation

In 2019 Kloop joined forces with OCCRP and the Kyrgyz edition of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|Radio Liberty to release a series of investigations about the corruption at the Kyrgyz border. Published in November and December simultaneously by all three media organizations, these stories revealed a story about an underground cargo empire run by a group of Chinese businessmen[11]. They funneled massive bribes to Kyrgyzstan's customs services, which allowed them to move undeclared and falsely labeled goods from China to Kyrgyzstan[12]. Journalists who worked on the story managed to find the evidence of at least $700 million that were laundered by the cargo empire as a result of this scheme[12][13].

Safety concerns and legal challenges

While working on Plunder and Patronage series, journalists faced a number of risks, including a death threat to one of them[14]. One of the main sources for the story, a self-confessed money launderer Aierken Saimaiti, was murdered in Istanbul|Istanbul, Turkey, ten days before the first part of the investigation was published[15][11].

The investigation itself caused an outrage in Kyrgyzstan, where two anticorruption protests took place in the end of 2019 as a reaction to what had been revealed in these stories[16][17].

In December 2019 the family of Raimbek Matraimov, a powerful former Kyrgyz customs official, who was described as one of the key people in the criminal scheme, filed a lawsuit against Kloop and Radio Liberty[18][19]. Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the organization that advocates for the freedom of the press, called this lawsuit absurd and called a Kyrgyz court to dismiss it[20]. Matraimov family are seeking 780,000 euros in damages in connection with the investigation[20].

Despite the ongoing legal battle, in June 2020 Kloop, OCCRP, and Radio Liberty published two more parts of the series, this time also joined by an investigative network Bellingcat[21]. Besides publishing new stories, this time the consortium of these media organizations also published all the originals of the financial documents that were used in the investigation[22][23].

Awards and accolades

For the Plunder and Patronage series, Kloop was a joint winner of Tom Renner Award by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)[24].

Samaragate was chosen as one of the best investigative stories from the former Soviet Union by Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) in 2017[25]. A year later, in 2018, Kloop's investigation about a fake military expert from Kyrgyzstan made it to another annual list by GIJN, this time being mentioned as one of the year's best stories in Russian or Ukrainian[26].


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 OCCRP. "OCCRP Network Members". www.occrp.org. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Can His Teen Investigative Reporters Battle an Anti-Press Regime?". OZY. 2019-02-05. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  3. Zeidler, Maryse (15 April 2019). "Journalists at TED 2019 conference fight for truth — and democracy". CBC. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  4. Искендер, Бектур (2010-02-05). "Максим Бакиев может быть причастен к продаже акций «Кыргызтелекома»". KLOOP.KG - Новости Кыргызстана (in русский). Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  5. "The mega force of youth journalists | Bektour Iskender". TED Archive YouTube Channel. 20 December 2016.
  6. "Бектур Искендер: «Власть боится нас больше, чем мы её»". the-steppe.com (in русский). Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  7. Putz, Catherine. "Server Shenanigans: Local Media Reports Kyrgyz Campaign Used Government Server". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  8. "Kyrgyzstan: Report Shows Presidential Candidate Gained Access to Private Data | Eurasianet". eurasianet.org. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  9. "Elections in Kyrgyzstan 2017 – Exposing Samara, a fraudulent voter management system – Qurium Media Foundation". Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  10. "Inside Kyrgyzstan's Online Election Hijinks". en.hromadske.ua. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Project, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting. "Plunder and Patronage in the Heart of Central Asia". OCCRP. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Kloop, OCCRP, RFE/RL, and. "The 700-Million-Dollar Man". OCCRP. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  13. "A vast smuggling ring is exposed in Kyrgyzstan, to popular outrage". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  14. "RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service Investigative Reporter Receives Death Threat". RFE/RL. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  15. "Assassination of Aierken Saimaiti in Istanbul Raises New Questions". bellingcat. 2019-11-17. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  16. "Kyrgyzstan: Corruption investigation sparks outrage | Eurasianet". eurasianet.org. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  17. "Hundreds protest over Kyrgyz corruption report". Reuters. 2019-11-25. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  18. Putz, Catherine. "After Exposing Corruption, Media Under Pressure in Kyrgyzstan". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  19. "Interview with Bektour Iskender, co-founder of Kyrgyz outlet under attack for corruption investigation". Global Voices Advocacy. 2019-12-13. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Absurd lawsuit against media outlets over corruption exposé in Kyrgyzstan | Reporters without borders". RSF. 2020-01-29. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  21. Bellingcat, RFE/RL, OCCRP, Kloop, and. "The Mystery of the Missing £5.6 Million". OCCRP. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  22. Kloop, RFE/RL, OCCRP, and. "Saimaiti's Archive". OCCRP. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  23. Putz, Catherine. "Undaunted, Joint Investigation Rolls Out Records Backing Corruption Reporting". thediplomat.com. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  24. OCCRP. "OCCRP and Partners From Kyrgyzstan Win Top U.S. Award for Crime Reporting". www.occrp.org. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  25. "Editor's Pick: Best Investigative Stories from the Former Soviet Union 2017". Global Investigative Journalism Network. 2018-01-31. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  26. "Editor's Pick: Best Investigative Stories in Russian and Ukrainian 2018". Global Investigative Journalism Network. 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2020-07-20.

This article "Kloop" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.