Two journalists in Kyrgyzstan were fired over a prank that involved kidnapping a TV celebrity and threatening her, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.
Nazira Aitbekova -- a 27-year-old TV personality who moderates talk shows and entertainment programs -- filed a complaint over the fake abduction which was conducted by reporters from tabloid paper “Super-Info.”
She also held a press conference on Thursday to reveal how she was abducted.
Aitbekova said she was approached by two men on Tuesday who put a pistol to her head and took her to the outskirts of Bishkek.
After threatening to kill her at gunpoint, they told her that the whole process was a practical joke and they were from a tabloid paper.
“When I heard ‘This is a surprise from Super-Info,’ I understood they had humiliated me for so long, and I fell down (to the ground) and started crying,“ Aitbekova said.
The journalists then asked her how she felt. “How should I feel when I was sure (I was going to) die and say goodbye to my child?” she said in an interview with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Aitbekova‘s husband, Iskender Sharsheev denounced the authorities for trying to “soften their action” and said this was not a practical joke but a crime. He said he will complain to the president and the prosecutor-general.
Super-Info’s management expressed sympathy for Aitbekova and explained the prank was not intended to terrorize the woman.
The tabloid’s owner Shaista Shatmanova said the journalists were told not to scare her or step over the line, which led the company to sack them.
“In this case, our correspondents acted according to their own decisions,” he said.