Democracy Rising

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Kazakh Media Update

Thanks to Here's the biggest scandal of the campaign so far (as I discussed earlier in the week) in greater detail:

On 4 November, 2005, the Inter-District Administrative Court in Almaty ordered the confiscation of all copies of the Juma-Times newspaper, after having found it guilty of insulting the honor and dignity of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Furthermore the court ordered the Jumash-Kokbori company, which owns the paper, to pay approx US$275.

The move followed the Prosecutor's order to seize the edition issued on 3rd November. According to his press release, 3 November's edition contained information, which was known to be false, and insulted the honor and dignity of Nazarbayev.

However according to the Juma-Times' press release, traffic police officers stopped two delivery vehicles at 11 a.m., on 3 November, carrying the first copies of the paper. Twenty three police officers , supported by plain clothes forces, surrounded the delivery. They detained the cars, but failed to complete any formal documents, show a writ by the prosecutor, a court order or any other documents required by the law. At the time, the police officers searched the cars and wrote a report, mentioning a reason for the detainment. The formal explanation was that copies of Juma-Times, in particular an article, entitled 'An FBI agent has been carefully listening to Nazarbayev, talking about Kazakhgate case' had insulted the incumbent.

It was the second incident within the last two months, where the Juma-Times had been seized before distribution of the paper, for offending the honor and dignity of President Nazarbayev. At the start of October, the paper was fined 39,000 tenge and had its circulation burned off, after a closed court session held in absentia of the paper's officials and owner.


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