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On adoption of the law regulating the Internet



by the Kazakhstani NGO Coalition “Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010”

On adoption of the law regulating the Internet


July 17, 2009



The Kazakhstani NGO coalition “Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010” is seriously concerned by the adoption by the Kazakhstani authorities of new, repressive legislation regulating the use of the Internet in the country.


In spite of protests from practically all journalistic organizations in Kazakhstn, dozens of media companies, and large numbers of journalists and citizens who use the Internet; in spite of a statement by the Representative of the OSCE on Freedom of the Media, the opinions of leading international experts and the calls of the OSCE, the Council of Europe and a host of democratic countries, the Parliament of Kazakhstan adopted and the president signed a law regulating the Internet that contradicts international standards and practice.


We believe it necessary to declare that adoption of the law “On Introducing Changes and Supplements to Several Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Issues Regarding Informational-Communications Networks” violates Kazakhstani citizens’ consitutional rights and is not consistent with internationally recognized principles of freedom of expression and freedom to exchange information as spelled out in the basic documents of the OSCE.


This law defines the entire content of the world wide Internet, including blogs, chat sites, forums, and sites that serve as means of self-expression and personal discourse as equivalent to mass media, with all of the criminal, civil and administrative responsibilities that entails.


The law legalizes the blocking of foreign Internet sites through a simplified judicial procedure that totally violates the principle of equality of the parties and the adverserial nature and openess of judicial proceedings.


The law introduces new bases for suspending or closing down all forms of media, which in practice will make impossible broad, general discussion of political issues such as international relations, elections, strikes, protests and demonstrations that are important to society.


The draft of this law was prepared without the participation of civil society, and all proposals put forth by civic groups and the recommendations of the OSCE were ignored.


Implementation of this law will lead to unjustified limitations of freedom of expression and the free exchange of information through the Internet.  It will significantly slow the development of the Kazakhstani segment of the Internet and serve as a serious obstacle to Kazakhstan’s integration into international informational society. 


Adoption of the law will seriously damage the image of our country and contradicts Kazakhstan’s 2007 commitment to liberalize media legislation, which was made prior to the decision to name the country to chair the OSCE in 2010.


The coalition “Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010” calls on Kazakhstani authorities to review their decision to pass this law, to revoke it and to initiate the drafting of new legislation guaranteeing freedom of speech and the media, including by holding a broad dialogue regarding the concept of regulating the Internet in a manner that is consistent with democratic standards for freedom of expression.


The coalition “Kazakhstan – OSCE 2010” was created by a number of leading Kazakhstani non-governmental organizations.  The coalition works to monitor the implementation of Kazakhstan’s OSCE obligations to develop democracy and ensure the rule of law in light of the country’s upcoming chairmanship of the OSCE.  The coalition unites:


The Almaty Helsinki Committee

The Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law

The International Fund for the Protection of Freedom of Speech “Adil Soz”

The International Center for Journalism “MediaNet”

The “Internews Kazakhstan

The Social Fund “Charter for Human Rights”

The Republican Network of Independent Monitors

The Legal Policy Research Centre

The Ecological Society “Green Salvation”

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