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Kazakhstan: Authorities Harass Website's Owner and Journalist
Following police searches of the offices of Nakanune.kz and the homes of the website’s owner and one of its journalists as part of a groundless investigation, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Harassing journalists and fabricating charges against them highlight the Kazakhstan government’s systematic attack on freedom of expression,” said Robert Herman, vice president of international programs. “The government should end its efforts to intimidate independent media outlets, journalists and their families."
On December 18, police searched the Almaty offices of Nakanune.kz and the homes of Nakanune.kz owner Guzyal Baidalinova and one of the website’s journalists, Yulia Kozlova. Almaty police said they have initiated pre-trial investigations against Respublika and Nakanune.kz for allegedly disseminating false information about the activities of Kazkommertsbank. Kozlova is also accused of using narcotics, after police planted narcotics during their search.
Kazakhstan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.61 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2015.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.