Kazakhstan to tighten internet law

Parliament approves crackdown on websites, in move condemned by rights activists.

    Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president, has to sign the bill before it is made into law  [GALLO/GETTY]

    "This law is not a regulation of the internet. The amendments introduced to the law are aimed at stopping the dissemination of illegal information on the internet," the government's state information agency said.

    'Step backwards'

    The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Europe's main human rights and security watchdog, has criticised the move.

    Miklos Haraszti, representative on media freedom, said the bill would be a "step backwards" and urged Nazarbayev to annul the law.

    "This law limits freedom of the internet and media freedom in general. Its adoption would be a step backwards in the democratisation of Kazakhstan's media governance," he said.

    Kazakhstan is due to take over chairmanship of the OSCE in six months' time.

    "Refusing to enact this law will send a strong signal that the forthcoming OSCE chairmanship of Kazakhstan in 2010 intends to fully honour the country's OSCE media freedom commitments," Haraszti said.

    The bill must be signed by Nazarbayev before it can be passed into law.

    Kazakhstan's political opposition, as well as independent and opposition media, are greatly worried by the growing media restrictions in the country, and have staged small protests in Almaty, the country's largest city.

    Tamara Kaleyeva, head of Adil Soz, a Kazakh media rights group, said: "We are deeply embittered by this decision."

    She added that the legislation would allow authorities to block any media outlet for its coverage of "elections, strikes, demonstrations and relations between ethnic groups, which are the most contentious social and political subjects".

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.