Kazakhstan, OSCE discuss shortcomings of proposed broadcasting law

April 26. Central Asia Newswire

Kazakhstan, OSCE discuss shortcomings of proposed broadcasting lawKazakhstan’s proposed new law on television and radio broadcasting came in for some criticism and advice from participants at a meeting held in the capital Astana on Tuesday.

The event, sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), gathered government and civil society representatives to debate the draft law which aims to regulate broadcasting as the country switches from analog to digital signal.

Digital transmission opens up new possibilities for viewers, such as giving access to advanced services such as wireless broadband.

Some participants said that parts of the draft law fail the reach international standards on freedom of expression and access to information which Kazakh authorities agreed to uphold, the OSCE said in a Tuesday press release.

“Freedom of expression, including access to information, is among the most fundamental human rights enshrined in the key international documents and OSCE commitments to which Kazakhstan is party,” the press release cited OSCE chief in Astana Alexandre Keltchewsky as saying.

“It allows democracy to work and enables public participation in decision-making,” he added.

Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Nurai Urazov said Kazakhstan intends through the new law to diversify public access to information sources.

“The government believes the law must guarantee citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms and enhance the free flow of information,” Urazov said.

Participants at the meeting represented government and legislature, the media, civil society and international organizations.

The OSCE’s media freedom representative in February criticized Kazakh media laws as muzzling press freedom. Kazakhstan served as the 2010 chair of the regional organization.