16 September 2010
CPJ special report: Disdaining press freedom, Kazakhstan undermines OSCE
(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, September 14, 2010 - President Nursultan Nazarbayev's government promised to enact press freedom and human rights reforms in exchange for gaining chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. But today, well into Kazakhstan's leadership of the influential security and rights organization, the Nazarbayev government has reneged on its promises and intensified its repressive practices, the Committee to Protect Journalists says in a new report.
As an OSCE summit approaches in Astana, CPJ's Nina Ognianova writes, the 56-nation organization has seen its own image damaged by its chairman. “By disregarding human rights and press freedom at home," Ognianova writes, “Kazakhstan has compromised the organization's international reputation as a guardian of these rights, undermined the OSCE's relevance and effectiveness, and thus devalued human rights in all OSCE states."
The Nazarbayev administration broke an explicit promise to the OSCE to decriminalize libel, while enacting restrictive measures governing the Internet and shielding government officials from public scrutiny. CPJ, which conducted a weeklong fact-finding mission to Almaty, found that Kazakhstan's government has imprisoned at least one journalist and one human rights defender in retaliation for their work; exerted intense political pressure in order to close two independent newspapers; and failed to make any evident progress in solving the 2009 murder in Almaty of a Kyrgyz journalist.