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Prominent Kazakh Journalist's Website Attacked, Blocked


Gulzhan Ergalieva

Gulzhan Ergalieva

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A prominent Kazakh journalist says her online news portal, guljan.org, has been blocked since it suffered a massive hacker attack, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Gulzhan Ergalieva, the website's founder and owner, told journalists in Almaty on July 21 that her website has been under attack since July 15. She said the attack was likely connected to the content on the website.

Ergalieva added that she had sent letters to the major Internet provider in Kazkahstan, KazakhTelecom, and the Communications and Information Ministry to urge them to find the attackers and "neutralize" them.

She said she has also asked international Internet organizations to assist her in resolving the problem.

Ergalieva had launched her online news portal last month. The new project received mixed reviews from readers after the 59-year-old journalist promoted her new project with a promotional campaign called "The Naked Truth Is Better Than A Dressed-Up Lie" that culminated in a racy online video.

In January, Ergalieva stepped down as the chief editor of the Kazakh newspaper "Svoboda Slova," which has been critical of the government. She said her resignation was motivated by the campaign for a referendum to prolong President Nursultan Nazarbaev's term in office until 2020.

Ergalieva founded "Svoboda Slova" in 2005 and had served as its chief editor until her resignation.

In 2001, a group of masked men broke into her Almaty apartment, beat her, and tied her up before torturing her husband in front of her for several hours, leaving him handicapped. The attackers were never found.

Ergalieva and her colleagues say the attack was organized by officials in retaliation for her critical articles about the country's political, social, and economic situation.

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