Kazakhstan: Media Wars

As the Rakhat Aliyev affair spins, and the ex-ambassador and former presidential son-in-law continues blackmailing the country’s authorities with discrediting materials, including publication of illegal taps of telephone conversations between the top officials, a number of websites have been recently blocked in Kazakhstan. “No explanations on the reasons of filtering were provided”, mantrov reports.

A Kazakhstan-born blogger now living in Australia, weathercock, says he has a “pathologic reaction to restriction of free speech on the post-Soviet space, especially in Kazakhstan” and undertakes a commitment to repost all of the censored kompromats “just for their exotic nature”. “Where would you find another country, where the top-ranking officials speak with each other in a way the American gangsters did in 1930s”, he notes.

Meanwhile, the blockade of disfavored websites was not a final stage of the government’s excessively neurotic reaction – last week, several independent newspapers were raided by police and regulatory bodies in an apparent attempt to hinder their publication. As a result, some of them were denied printing facilities and failed to appear in print. Shortly after that, chief editors of these newspapers had a meeting with Minister of Information Yertysbayev.

As sarimov informs, the meeting was meant to mitigate the conflict – the authorities are not interested in another scandal with the press, but they are even less interested in broadcast of discrediting materials about the government and president. “The conditions that had been set by the minister are simple: stop publications of Aliyev’s leaks and there will not be any problems with print-houses. A deadly dichotomy”, sarimov concludes.

However, the newspapers seemingly did not have a choice, but to accept the conditions – mahno-mactep calls the deal “an obscene peace treaty”. Meanwhile, Joshua Foust offers an overview of the recent alarming developments in the sphere of mass media in the region of Central Asia, listing the cases of journalists being murdered over the past few years.

[All links, except the last one, lead to the posts in Russian]

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