Kazakhstan’s internet freedom lessening
As journalism continues to move online, so too do the rigid censorship laws in Kazakhstan.
The lines of print and online journalism are shifting, which has been both an advantage and disadvantage to various parties around the world. The Internet can be an important medium for numerous individuals as it can give almost everyone a voice. Unfortunately, in some countries this voice has been the subject of controversy, including Kazakhstan.
While many countries have freedom of speech provisions written into their legislation, others use laws to limit the extent to which writers and netizens can voice their opinion. With the world growing more connected, this kind of government action needs to come to an end, so that individuals – no matter their citizenship – can exercise their right to free expression online and in print.
Finding a platform for free speech
In Kazakhstan, there are limited forums for free speech, according to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. In fact, the news source considers the Internet as the last platform for open expression in the country. However, government action is growing stricter online as well.
In 2009, a law was passed that made Internet content equal to that of print and broadcast media when it comes to controlling what is said. Many news outlets have found it difficult to publish the media that they would like because of liberally applied defamation laws. Now, these actions apply to blogs, forums, chatrooms and social media among many other forms of online content.
On top of this, Internet providers are required to assist law enforcement in their pursuit of various investigations when it comes to these measures, according to the news source.
Difficulties online have only grown as of late. According to the Freedom on the Net report released by Freedom House, Kazakhstan regressed slightly between 2012 and 2013, moving from a rating of 58 to 59, with 0 being the highest.
The organization reported that in December 2012, four opposition media outlets were banned along with any other outlet that reproduced this content. On top of this, numerous libel charges have been brought to these same courts because of cases that occurred in 2013.
These kinds of government actions run counter to many of the rights that are supposed to be granted to all citizens. The Internet can be a valuable forum for many to express their thoughts and opinions, but these capabilities are all undone when citizens are restricted from what it is they can post.