Unjustified Interference with Press Freedom in Kazakhstan
The decision by Kazakhstan’s government to suspend newspaper Pravdivaya Gazeta for the second time in the past eight months is an unacceptable interference in freedom of the press. Freedom House calls on the government to cease harassment of the newspaper Pravdivaya Gazeta and all independent media in Kazakhstan.
On December 28, an appeals court in Almaty upheld the decision to suspend the newspaper for three months because it had printed an issue on November 20, instead of the scheduled date of November 22. In the past year, the government has frequently used publication of newspapers on a different schedule than agreed to shut down independent media it dislikes. The court also upheld a fine roughly equivalent to $600.
The latest suspension of Pravdivaya Gazeta continues a clear pattern of harassment of independent media in Kazakhstan, whereby insignificant issues with printing regulations – such as printing fewer copies than specified in a newspaper’s registration or printing issues on a slightly different schedule – are used as an excuse to suspend and harass media that the government dislikes. Slovo Naroda, Ashyk Alan, Tribune, and Pravda Kazakhstana are among the other newspapers that have experienced interference under similar pretexts this year.
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