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Caged up Kazakh Mass-Media

Caged up Kazakh Mass-Media
Saule Mukhammedkarimova 14.07.2007

Unfortunately it is necessary to ascertain that during the last six months freedom of speech in Kazakhstan having reached its apogee quickly disappears. Distressful independent mass media of Kazakhstan silently die off together with it. Our state declaring without turning a hair priority of achievement of democratic values, now, being totally frightened, thinks only what to do not to pay for own self-confidence and desire to stick out "democratic achievements" in front of the world, first of all in front of the West. Obviously, "eternal khan" - which is our dear president - and his company are furious with principal and wide reaction of journalist society on the amendments to the law about mass media and a bill "About Publishing Activity".

The campaign played out by local and international journalistic NGO against granting to the officials the right to supervise and, at own discretion, to stop activity of objectionable editions and broadcasting channels raised international attention to the questions of freedom of speech in our country, having caused extreme irritation of authorities. And here, obviously, there is something to hide. In a "quiver" of strict measures of the Kazakh authorities of the control over mass-media and restriction of freedom of speech there are various "arrows-means", including pursuits, withdrawal of registration and also chargers in criminal cases and administrative malefactions.  

Restrictions of freedom of speech, press, assemblies and associations and also obstacles in connection with activity of NGO strengthens almost daily. Disappearance of journalists became ordinary business. Three months ago, on March, 30th journalist Oralgajshu Zhabagtajkyzy, director of anticorruption Department of the republican newspaper "Law and Justice" was kidnapped. It is directly associated with the issue on March, 26th in this newspaper of an article "Bloody Chaos or Who Stands after the Brothers-"Makhno". The correspondent of radio "Azattyk" Asamat Zhetpisbaev who disappeared on the 15th of December of the previous year after participation in the press-conference on the problems of democracy in Kazakhstan, was found out in a week in a prison of Almaty.

There was never proved in Kazakhstan that there were murders of journalists for their political views. It is clear. Till now there are up to the end not found out circumstances of death in road and transport incidents of independent journalists Nuri Muftakh, Alexey Pugaev, Batyrkhan Darimbet, Askhat Sharipzhanov, a murder of foreign journalist Christopher Goering is also not cleared up. there is universal judicial campaign against independent journalists: Sergey Duvanov, Kazis Toguzbaev, Victor Miroshnichenko, Galina Vibornovaya, Ekaterina Belyaeva, Zhasaral Kuanyshalin became the victims in various "forms and extents". It is possible to continue the list.

On May, 24th of the current year the journalist Sergey Duvanov was beaten and imprisoned only because he protested against "eternal autocracy" of the first president of Kazakhstan. Clause 318 of Criminal code of the Republic Kazakhstan "Encroachment on Honour and Dignoty of President of the Republic Kazakhstan and Hidrance of His Activity" became favourite occasion for suits of independent journalists and public figures. Lately in our country such oppositional newspapers as "Business Review "Republic", "Assandy-Times", "Soldat", "XXI Century", "Time Po" were closed, the pressure on "Freedom of Speech", "Taszhargan" and other independent mass-media increased.

And what was the behaviour of the authorities in illumination of criminal cases of Rahat Aliev and "Nurbank"? The most banal method of pressure was chosen: belonged to already former son-in-law of Nazarbaev mass-media were closed to have an opportunity to change the owners. The specialized economic court of Almaty suspended activity of the Commercial telechannel (CTC) and newspapers "Caravan" which belonged to R.Aliev and "Kazakhtelecom" blocked work of a site www.kz-today.kz. Earlier the Office of Public Prosecutor warned these mass-media about responsibility for publications with info about "Nurbank". Though their work continues they remained quite "toothless": they were "prescribed" not to be engaged in politics. Besides, the management of CTC changed: the telechannel was headed by Arman Shuraev who worked before as the main inspector of social-political department of administration of the Kazakhstan president.

Such actions of "the most democratic mode in Central Asia" had sharp criticism from the western countries and the international organizations. In particular, the USA and the International institute of press appealed to Kazakhstan "to correspond to the adherence to democratic reforms and freedom of speech declared". "Murderer" of independent mass-media of Kazakhstan Nazarbaev chose the minister of culture and information Ermuhamed Ertysbaev - the former adviser of the president on political questions. Obviously, knowing abilities of the adviser the president appointed him to begin universal attack on independence of press. E.Ertysbaev began with amendments to the Law "About Mass-Media" which later became subsequently one of the reasons on which the decision of a question about chairmanship of Kazakhstan in OSCE was postponed. The end of 2006 was marked by the new bill created in bowels of the Ministry of Culture, - "About Publishing Activity".

Already in May, 2006 the executive committee of the Congress of journalists demanded from the president of resignation of E.Ertysbaev as the later "has shown authoritative qualities aspiring to power methods, rotation of the staff in mass-media being supervised by him, to establishment of actual censorship in the air, resorting to threats in relation to the journalistic collectives unwanted". But nothing happened to the minister. Minister has celebrated his fifty years' anniversary on the 18th of November, 2006 in a hall of the most prestigious capital hotel "Rixos" using resources of the ministry. What is the base of such assurance of E.Ertysbaev? The matter is that the Minister of Information is the private "bodyguard" of now "eternal khan" of Kazakhstan. Being just an instrument of the state policy, he even doesn't try to explain the aim of the reforms, argumentation is obviously not his shot.


The weapon of "the Kazakh Goebbels" is - propagation. With such minister the journalistic community of our country with concern and powerlessness observes how the country comes back "in days when independent mass-media were duplicated on risographs and printers, were issued abroad or stopped existence. On June, 12th authorities in E.Ertysbaev's lips started talking about necessity of returning of a part of a state share of joint-stock company "Kotelko" which was the exclusive operator of system of a satellite communication of tele-radio broadcasting. Local and international observers with more and more increasing alarm mark that N.Nazarbaev has gone for a brass ring in questions of real democratization of Kazakhstan and is no longer afraid to lose a rank of "democratic leader" of the Central Asia. After changes in Constitution of Kazakhstan our authorities will hardly bear any discontent with internal and foreign policy carried out by them.

The president of public fund "Journalists in Trouble" Roslana Taukina is seriously afraid that the next object of attacks after mass-media will be nongovernmental organizations financed from abroad. If on one demonstrator on the Alma-Ati area in June of the current year were 2 public prosecutors, 10 employees of National Security Committee and approximately 40 militiamen, if it is possible to talk about freedom of speech and self-expression in the Republic of Kazakhstan!? Time of freedom in Kazakhstan ended. An epoch of sterility - musty as our authority which copies our relatives and far neighbours being incapable to imagine its own idea or initiative.

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