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Internet censorship in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstani authorities have recently begun practicing internet censorship, according to an announcement by the analytic-informational center "Eurasia" on November 6, 1999. ( There is no relations with The Eurasia Foundation or with The Eurasia Bank).

Beginning on November 4, it has been impossible to connect to the opposition-sponsored website "Eurasia" ( within Kazakhstan. This website features material on events in Kazakhstan, and offers a critical perspective on its government and president.

During telephone interview conducted by Internews Kazakhstan, technicians for the internet provider firm Nursat said that access to the "Eurasia" website is and will be impossible for the foreseeable future, for "technical reasons". They also said that the same "reasons" exist for all of Kazakhstan's internet providers. Employees of Nursat refused to be more specific about the technical problems, saying that only the director of the company could respond in detail. A request to speak with the management of the company was met with the response that they were at present unavailable.

In a telephone interview, an employee of the Committee for National Security (KNB) who is responsible for mass media said that prior to the interview he had not heard of problems connecting to that website.

However, for several days access to the opposition site on the territory of Kazakhstan has been closed.

In September Rakhat Aliev, the husband of Dariga Nazarbaeva, the president's daughter, was appointed chief of the Almaty KNB. Since the beginning of 1997 Rakhat Aliev and Dariga Nazarbaev have played a highly visible role within Kazakhstan's mass media market, running or controlling numerous prominent private newspapers and television and radio stations. Thus on the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections in 1999 the most important mass media in Kazakhstan were under the control of the government. The bias and dependence of Kazakhstani mass media were noted by OSCE observers during the last elections. It is interesting, that according to the news agency Interfax on November 4, President Nazarbaev sharply criticized the OSCE, saying that Kazakhstan might leave that organization. "The leader of Kazakhstan stated, that today he was 'not interested' in what others 'said somewhere across the ocean' about Kazakhstan. 'I am interested in Kazakhstan and the order of its people.'"

Oleg Katsiev, Director Internews Kazakhstan


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