Friday, August 22, 2014

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

Radio Azattyq makes a difference in people's lives by providing a platform for audiences in Kazakhstan to share ideas and learn how a free media works.

Fast Facts

  • Language: Kazakh, Russian
  • Established: 1953
  • Distribution: Internet (website, mobile, social media)
  • Locations: Prague, Almaty
  • Staff: 5 (Prague), 10 (Almaty), 36 stringers

Media Environment

  • Privately-held and opposition media are subject to harassment and censorship.
  • Criticizing the president is a criminal offense and is used as a pretext to silence journalists, while an Article 19 analysis found that Kazakhstan's civil law regime "fails to provide safeguards for free expression and meet international defamation standards."


  • Radio Azattyq has migrated fully to digital distribution, producing multimedia content for its Kazakh and Russian language website, mobile and social media sites and branded YouTube page.
  • Azattyq has broken several major stories:
An April 2013 investigative report by Radio Azattyq exposed a corruption scheme that affected 800 ethnic Kazakh repatriates from Mongolia, forcing the Kazakh Interior Ministry to open an investigation and the presidents of both countries to address the problem.

A June 2013 report on an attempt by the pro-presidential Nur-Otan party to take over a building housing a music school for use as a local party branch caused the party to abandon the plan.

In December 2011, major international media including BBC, Reuters, “The New York Times” and ”The Telegraph” cited Azattyq's reporting on violent unrest in the western oil town of Zhanaozen. Its continuing investigations into alleged police abuse, torture in detention centers, missing people and pursuit of citizen journalists prompted Kazakhstan's prosecutor general to open criminal proceedings into police actions during and after the unrest.

  • In March 2011, Radio Azattyq created an interactive website that allowed voters to monitor the electoral process. In a country that has never experienced a free election, and with local media controlled by the incumbent, the project represented a crucial advance for the Kazakh public.
  • The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) recognized two Azattyq journalists in December 2010 for their "outstanding coverage of human rights issues in Central Asia."

Updated: 20 August 2013

Facts & Stats

16.80 million (World Bank estimate, 2012)

Most Common Languages:
Russian, Kazakh, Ukranian, Uyghur, German

Press Freedom Index (Freedom House):
Not Free, ranked 182 out of 196 (2013)

Press Freedom Index (RSF):
160 out of 179 (2013)

Corruption Index (Transparency Int.):
133 out of 174 (2012)

Global Peace Index (IES):
78 out of 162 (2013)

Human Rights Watch:
Report on Kazakhstan (2013)

Amnesty International:
Kazakhstan Report (2013)