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KazTeleCom Blocks "Illegal' Blogs

Kazakhstan - has been blocked in Kazakhstan, 10May2011.
Kazakhstan - has been blocked in Kazakhstan, 10May2011.
Prominent Kazakh bloggers say the
government's blockage of the Wordpress blog platform since June is politically
motivated, RFE's Kazakh Service reports.

In an official response to parliament deputy and active Wordpress user Murat
Abenov, KazTeleCom, Kazakstan's main Internet provider, said on July 12 that
it blocked domestic access to Wordpress because of two "illegal" blogs.

The letter said that in February Astana's Saryarkin regional court imposed a
ban on two blogs -- and -- because
they had posted "unlawful information." It did not elaborate.

KazTeleCom added that it could not block the two blog sites because they had
identical IP addresses, and so it said it had to block the entire Wordpress
platform and all of its blogs.

Kazakh blogger Murat Mulkubaev, who heads the public organization Pirate Party
of Kazakhstan, said the authorities blocked the Wordpress blog platform because
they are afraid of seeing criticism.

He said it is suspicious that the blocking of the Wordpress platform coincided
with Kazakhstan's accession to the customs union with Belarus and Russia, and suggested that Kazakh authorities wanted to avoid criticism from opponents of the

Mulkubaev said there were some 500 Kazakh-language bloggers on the Wordpress
platform. But he added that now the main pages for social discussions are on
Facebook and Twitter.

Dina Baydildaeva, a Kazakh blogger and member of the public association
Liberty, told RFE that the earlier blocking of and and the continued blocking of Wordpress violates international and
national laws on information.

She said her organization, which is in the process of obtaining official
registration, will demand that the Communications and Information Ministry as
well as KazTeleCom respect the right of people to freely access information.

Tamara Kaleyeva, who heads the human rights organization Adil Soz, told RFE
that KazTeleCom went beyond the court decision at the expense of Internet users.
She said the provider did not have the right to block the entire platform
because of two blogs.

RFE's Kazakh Service website was blocked in February this year in an incident for which the government-controlled Internet provider Nursat ultimately claimed responsbility. The website was blocked for almost seven weeks in 2008.

Compiled by RFE's Kazakh Service and O wire.

Read more in Kazakh here.
Read more in Russian here.