Invitation to the meeting with representatives of the press: Kazakhstan shuts down the media critical of the authorities

On 16 April, 2013, from 11.00 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. in the office of the organisation ‘Reporters without Borders’ (Reporter ohne Grenzen), Bryukkenshtr. 4, 10179 Berlin, a meeting with the press representatives from Kazakhstan will be held.

The authorities of Kazakhstan, a country rich in raw materials, has recently closed major media outlets, critical of the existing political system. After the brutal suppression of the strike of oil workers at the end of 2011, the country's authoritarian leadership has been heavily criticised, which resulted in searches of the newspaper offices, during which computers were seized. Intelligence services were shadowing journalists all the way to their residences. ‘Reporters without Borders’ consider the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the most bitter enemy of press freedom in the world. Anyone, who dares to release or publish information about his property or the existence of corruption in his environment, can face imprisonment. Some media outlets which were brave enough to express criticism in the face of this, no longer exist: at the end of December, a number of media outlets were shut down, namely: the newspapers: ‘Vzglyad’ and ‘Respublika’, the TV channels: ‘K +’ and ‘Stan TV’. It should be noted that a few weeks before, Kazakhstan was elected a new member of the UN Council on Human Rights.

The international human rights organisation ‘Reporters without Borders’ and the Open Dialog Foundation cordially invite the editor–in-chiefs of the closed newspapers to a meeting with the press in order to discuss the situation in Kazakhstan:


Igor Vinyavskiy

From 2007, he was the head of the opposition weekly newspaper ‘Vzglyad’ until its closure on 20 December, 2012, following a court ruling. In 2012, Vinyavskiy spent two months in jail having been convicted of calling for the violent overthrow of the government in his newspaper. ‘Reporters without Borders’ and the European Parliament called for his release. Back in the 2004, a newspaper headed by Vinyavskiy and published in Pavlodar (northern Kazakhstan), was charged with libel and shut down. In June 2011, the journalist was denied a permit to visit Brussels, where he was to take part in a conference on corruption in Central Asia.


Irina Petrushova

In 2000, she founded the weekly newspaper ‘Respublika’. An article that criticised the government triggered attempts to close the media outlet, however, she evaded the shut-down by registering the newspaper under a different name. In 2002, the editorial staff received numerous threats: unidentified perpetrators hung the corpse of a dog on the façade of their office building, before setting it on fire. Having received death threats and accusations of tax evasion, Petrushova fled to Moscow. From there, she continued to run the newspaper until it was forced to close on 25 December.

 

The languages of the meeting will be Russian and German;  simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

You can register at: rog@reporter-ohne-grenzen.de

 

Press contacts:

Ulrike Gruska/Christoph Dreier

presse@reporter-ohne-grenzen.de

www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de

Tel.: +49 (0)30 60 98 95 33-55

More on this topic: Kazakhstan, media