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Co-chairman of the moderate opposition party Ak Zhol Altynbek Sarsenbaev is appointed as new information minister

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev appointed Altynbek Sarsenbaev, co-chairman of the moderate opposition party Ak Zhol, minister of information on 12 July. Sarsenbaev immediately announced that he plans to pursue liberal policies, crafting a new media law, and ensuring a fair media environment for the 19 September parliamentary elections.

In particular, as the minister has stated to journalists at a press conference in Almaty, the Ministry of Information of RK is going to create public television. According to A. Sarsenbayev, the public television can be created on the basis of "Kazakhstan-1" TV & radio broadcasting company. "I believe that there is a necessity of creating such television today," - he has said.

The new minister also dropped charges that had been filed against a newspaper for a minor violation of registration rules. Earlier it was reported that the Ministry of Information of Kazakhstan has applied to court with a lawsuit against "Nachnem s ponedelnika" newspaper as per article 342 of the Administrative Code in relation with the violation of a media registration in the newspaper. According to Ramazan Yesserghepov, chief editor of the newspaper, it was accused of illegal distribution after an addition of two pages in Kazakh language in it. As per the current legislation the newspaper had to re-register to do that. A. Sarsenbayev says that "an entry about the language of this or that newspaper is needed solely for statistics and this fact cannot be used as a reason to close media." Official apologies were presented to the newspaper editorial staff on July 13.

A. Sarsenbayev was born September 12, 1962. He graduated from the Kazakh State University named after S. Kirov in journalism, PhD in political science.
In the past he headed the state onomastic commission by the government of RK, the Ministry of Print and Mass Media, the Ministry of Culture, Information and Public Accord, the Security Council of RK. In January, 2002, he was assigned ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Russia, Finland and Armenia.

In the beginning of November 2003 was dismissed from his ambassador duties by order of the president of RK. After the dismissal A. Sarsenbayev was elected one of co-chairpersons of "Akzhol" party at one of its congresses.

Responding to a question about his political views, A. Sarsenbayev said that he remained a leader of the "Ak Zhol" party. "I don't change my political views because of political climate or a new job," - he explained.

July 21, 2004 By
RFE/RL Central Asia Report Vol. 4, No. 28, 21 July 2004


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