IPI Welcomes Kazakh President’s Veto of Law on
The International Press Institute (IPI), the global
network of editors, leading journalists and media executives in over
120 countries, welcomes the decision by the President of Kazakhstan,
Nursultan Nazarbayev, to veto the restrictive media law.
In his opening statement at the Eurasian Media Forum on 22 April
2004, President Nazarbayev stated he will not ratify the Law on Mass
Media in its present form. The law would have increased government
powers to shut down media outlets and impose tighter controls on
Nazarbayev said, “Taking into account the legal aspects of this
situation and the opinion of both the public and journalists I
decided not to object to the Constitutional Council's decision and
as such the new law on mass media is rejected.”
Journalists, international organizations and human rights groups
welcomed the veto, which comes after months of debating the law.
Present at the Eurasian Media Forum, IPI Director Johann Fritz,
described the decision as a victory for press freedom in Kazakhstan.
“While this may be a small step for Nazarbayev, this is a great step
for the journalism community of Kazakhstan,” Fritz said.
IPI produced an in-depth analysis of the draft law in July 2003,
where it concluded that in its present form, the legislation fails
to respect international standards on press freedom and freedom of
including Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, which Kazakhstan signed in December 2003. The
Kazakh Parliament approved the law on 18 March, and IPI wrote to
President Nazarbayev on 23 March asking him to veto the law.
In its examination of the law, IPI said it “contained areas where
there was a distinct need to remove ambiguities and contradictions
in the wording of the legislation in order to avoid abuse by the
authorities. If the proposed law were to remain in its present form,
it would be difficult not to see the law as a government inspired
attempt to control and intimidate the media.”
International Press Institute (IPI)
Tel: + 431-512 90 11
Fax: + 431-512 90 14
IPI, the global network of editors, media executives and leading
journalists, is dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of
press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression,
the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the
improvement of the practices of journalism.
April 23, 2004.