U.S. ambassador warns Kazakhstan about lawsuits against media, criticizes Internet regulation

July 30. Interfax. ALMATY

U.S. ambassador warns Kazakhstan about lawsuits against media, criticizes Internet regulationU.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Hoagland  says the numerous slander lawsuits against media organizations and journalists in Kazakhstan make the country farther from Europe.

In  an interview published in the Thursday edition of the newspaper Vremya,  Hoagland  recommended  that the Kazakh authorities use European standards while resolving such issues.

Hoagland also pointed out that the amendments to the legislation on Internet   regulation   recently   adopted   in   Kazakhstan  cannot  be characterized  as  a  step  in the direction of liberalization. The U.S. administration  has made it very clear to the Kazakh administration that the U.S.  regrets  the  adoption  of these amendments, but now that they have become  a  law it is very important how this law will be fulfilled, said the ambassador.

Hoagland  said  he  is  hoping  that  the  law  will not be used to restrict freedom of speech and the media in Kazakhstan.

In June, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a law amending some legislative acts dealing with information and communication networks, under which all Internet resources, including websites, blogs, chatrooms, Internet shops, and electronic libraries, are regarded as media outlets and bear appropriate criminal and civil liability.

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