Foreign Policy Blogs

Kazakhstan: the media matters

Press Freedom Day PosterConflict between journalists and the Minister of Culture and Information Mr. Ermukhamet Ertsybaev has been a constant theme since May of 2006, when journalists protested the Minister's “authoritarian methods”.  Last month, protest erupted again when Mr. Ertsybaev had television journalists from the station ERA ejected from a March 2 event.  By Monday, March 5, journalists were calling for Mr. Ertsybaev's resignation; by March 8, ejected journalist Yuliya Isakova, had filed a lawsuit against the Minister; and by March 14, Prime Minister Karim Masimov had publicly supported Mr. Ertsybaev but also publicly advised him to apologize to Ms. Isakova.   To me, this all sounds like good news, or, perhaps, at least familiar. . . . everybody does their job . . . . differences settled by lawyers and not weapons . . . . .  and everybody gets to have an opinion .

A reporter for the Law and Justice newspaper, Oralgaisha Omarshanova, has been missing for twenty days.  Previously, Ms. Omarshanova had moved in response to receiving threats via telephone.   What makes this especially troubling: Ms. Omarshanova often focussed upon business and corruption stories.  She had been investigating the possible criminal links of an ethnic Chechen family allegedly involved in the March 17th mass brawl  in Malovodnoye and Kazatkom townships.  

Poster, World Freedom Day 2006: UNESCO
Event news, RFE/RL Newsline, multiple dates