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New Kazakh Law Alarms Press Freedom Group

The internet is not a safe haven in Kazakhstan
The internet is not a safe haven in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan has recently passed legislation that “drastically curbs online freedom,” according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and threatens to silence bloggers. A law signed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev on 13 July gives blogs, chat rooms and other websites such as online retail outlets the same legal status as the Kazakh news media, making them similarly vulnerable to criminal prosecution. The new law will also permit authorities to block websites that cover elections, strikes, demonstrations and ethnic issues. In a July 15 statement, RSF says that the law, which “gives the government a legal mechanism to punish its opponents, bodes ill for Kazakhstan’s presidency of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010,” adding, “We call for the revision of this law, which violates the constitution and could lead to bloggers being jailed and online media being closed.”