Leading independent Kazakh newspaper at centre of major media crackdown

first_img Receive email alerts February 5, 2021 Find out more KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia Reporters prevented from covering Kazakh parliamentary elections Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned by the growing crackdown on independent journalistsin Kazakhstan“The authorities, even more paranoid as a result of riots in Janaozen in December, are using the securityargument as a pretext to step up their crackdown on the media,” the press freedom organization said.“After Stan TV and Vzglyad, Golos Respubliki is once again at the centre of the storm. Independentjournalism as a whole is being targeted by a government unable to reassert its authority other than byforce.”The deputy editor of the independent newspaper Golos Respubliki, Oksana Makushina, wassummoned for a second day today for questioning at the head office of the National SecurityCommittee, the KNB. She had already spent seven hours there the day before. At the same time, thepaper’s editorial offices were searched and computers and technical equipment seized.Makushina came under suspicion because she chaired a press conference three days ago in supportof the jailed journalist Igor Vinyavsky (see below). Other participants were also summoned. KNB agents wanted to know how they discovered the precise charge brought against the journalistand how they obtained a leaflet that he is accused of distributing.They also questioned the organizers to determine whose idea it was to show the leaflet to thejournalists attending the press conference, who did so, and whether they were aware of thesubversive implications of such an action.Vinyavsky, editor of Vzglyad, was arrested on 23 January and is being held in pre-trial detentionfor two months. He is accused of distributing leaflets calling for an insurrection shortly after theoverthrow of the government of Kurmanbek Bakiyev in neighbouring Kygyzstan in 2010.The leaflet contains images of the Kyrgyz uprising and a photo of a man holding up a pictureof the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The caption reads: “Kyrgyzia got rid of thepredatory Bakiyev clan. We’ve waited long enough, let’s throw (this picture) in the bin!”Press freedom organizations are surprised at the slowness of the authorities’ response andbelieve it is a trumped-up case. There is no trace of the leaflet on the computers seized fromVinyavsky and the Vzglyad editorial offices.Golos Respubliki is the main independent newspaper in Kazakhstan, which is classified 154thout of 179 countries in the latest world press freedom index published by Reporters WithoutBorders. News Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the detention of Igor Vinyavsky (Игорь Винявский),the editor of the independent newspaper Vzglyad, since 23 January and calls for his immediaterelease.Arrested in Almaty at the end of a series of raids on the offices of several independent newsmedia, Vinyavsky has been charged under article 170 of the criminal code with distributingleaflets calling for the government’s overthrow. The charge carries a possible five-year jailsentence.Mikhail Sizov, the editor of Alga, an opposition newspaper that was also searched, wasquestioned for the entire day on 23 January by the Committee for State Security (KNB) beforebeing released.Vzglyad has not been able to publish since the raids because all of its computers were seized.Vinyavsky’s personal computers were also seized during a search of his home on the evening of23 January. An Almaty court is due to decide tomorrow whether he is to remain in custody.Harassment of independent journalists has been mounting since a violent crackdown on riotingoil workers in the western city of Zhanaozen on 16 December. Members of a crew workingfor Stan TV, an independent TV station, were detained for an hour in Zhanaozen on11 January. Two days later, 15 Stan TV employees – almost all of the station’s staff – weresummoned to KNB headquarters for interrogation.They were questioned about their coverage of the Zhanaozen riot although none of Stan TV’sstaff were in the city on the day it took place. The station was however one of the first newsoutlets to broadcast video footage filmed by netizens showing the police using violence againstdemonstrators. Kazakh reporter accuses police of attacking her ——————————26.01.2012 Independent newspaper editor held by security agency Organisation Follow the news on Kazakhstan Newscenter_img to go further RSF_en February 3, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Leading independent Kazakh newspaper at centre of major media crackdown News Help by sharing this information News January 15, 2021 Find out more Regional newspaper editor harassed after investigating real estate scandal KazakhstanEurope – Central Asia October 30, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more