Report of the Committee to Protect Journalists
New York, May 22, 2002-This morning assailants
threw Molotov cocktails into the office windows of Delovoye
Obozreniye Respublika, an opposition newspaper based in the city
of Almaty in southern Kazakhstan. In a separate incident, two
employees of another opposition paper were attacked yesterday.
According to international reports and CPJ
sources in Kazakhstan, no one was injured in today’s attack, but the
resulting fire destroyed much of the office, including the
publication’s technical equipment.
Local police are investigating the incident.
This is the latest in a series of attacks on Delovoye Obozreniye Respublika. On March 8, Irina Petrushova,
the paper’s founder and editor-in-chief, received a funeral wreath.
And on May 19, according to international reports and journalists in
Almaty, the newspaper’s staff found a decapitated dog’s corpse
hanging from an office window with an attached note that read,
“There won’t be a next time.” The following day, Petrushova found
the dog’s head in the building’s yard.
On May 21, Bakhytgul Makinbai, a correspondent
with the Almaty opposition newspaper SolDat, and Kenzhe
Aitpakiyev, a staff member, were assaulted by four assailants who
broke into the paper’s offices. According to the two victims, the
assailants beat them, stole expensive technical equipment, and
threatened further attacks if the newspaper continued publishing.
Local police are investigating the assault.
Journalists at the newspapers, which are both
known for their critical coverage of the Kazakh government, believe
these attacks were politically motivated.
“By failing to investigate attacks against
journalists effectively and prosecute those responsible, Kazakh
authorities are creating an environment in which journalists are
increasingly vulnerable to violence and intimidation,” said CPJ
executive director Ann Cooper.
For more information about press freedom
conditions in Kazakhstan, visit www.cpj.org.
CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that
works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.