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A newspaper kiosk in Almaty (RFE/RL)
June 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Deputies in the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament today shrugged off domestic and international criticism and adopted in a second and final reading controversial amendments to the country's media law, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
The draft was approved by a vote of 46 to 11, with one abstention.
The government-sponsored changes must be approved by the Senate, or upper chamber of parliament, and President Nursultan Nazarbaev to before going into effect.
Critics, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United States, say the amended legislation would constitute a major setback for press freedom.
The proposed changes, which are backed by President Nazarbaev and opposed by his powerful daughter, legislator and widely reported media mogul Darigha Nazarbaeva, would bar the editors of periodicals that have been closed by court order from working in the same capacity for other publications.
They would also double the number of infractions available to authorities to deny a media outlet official registration.
(with additional reporting by Kazakhstan Today, Interfax- Kazakhstan, and Kazinform)