Radio of bureau / Kazakhstan

Kazak Magazine Closed Because of Ukraine Article

06.07.2015

Weekly consistently criticised government’s closeness to Moscow.

After losing its legal battle with the Kazak authorities, the Adam Bol magazine has closed down, but its editors plan to launch a new publication.

www.iwpr.net

On February 26, an appeals court in Almaty turned down the magazine’s appeal against a December ruling stripping it of its publishing license and ordering its closure.

The injunction was filed by the city mayor’s office on the grounds that an article published in August on the conflict in Ukraine was in breach of a constitutional provision banning “war propaganda”.

In January and early February, chief editor Guljan Yergalieva staged an 18-day hunger strike to press for a fair review of the shutdown order. Interviewed by IWPR on the penultimate day of her protest, Yergalieva said, “Unfortunately, the authorities here have been unable to get away from the bad, unhealthy practice of getting rid of their opponents, blocking the potential for competition, and violating all sorts of rights. The media are of course a very dangerous opponent for regimes like this.” 

Adam Bol had carried a number of articles criticising Kazakstan’s political elite and alleging high-level corruption. The final straw was the August article about the presence of volunteers from Kazakstan fighting on the Ukrainian side.

Adam Bol editor Miras Nurmukhanbetov suspects Russia may have raised objections to the piece with the Kazak authorities.

Political analyst Dosym Satpaev points out that Adam Bol was critical both of Kazakstan’s accession to the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union and of Russia’s actions in Ukraine – both hugely sensitive issues for the leadership as it tries to steer a way through troubled waters.

Yergalieva says she has been granted approval to launch a new magazine called Adam. The same editorial team will produce it, but she is stepping back as chief editor, to be replaced by her colleague Ayan Sharipbaev.

Botagoz Seidakhmetova is IWPR’s radio editor for Kazakstan.

This audio programme went out in Russian and Kyrgyz on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan. It was produced under two IWPR projects, Investigative Journalism to Promote Democratic Reform, funded by the European Union; and Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU or the Norwegian government.

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