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Kazakh President Vetoes Controversial Media Bill

Nazarbaev backs media objections 22 April 2004 -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev today vetoed a controversial media bill that he said would have violated the country's constitution.

Nazarbaev told the Eurasian Media Forum that opened in the Kazakh capital Almaty today that the country's constitutional council had ruled the media bill violated the constitution and so the Kazakh president said he rejected it.

Parliament passed the bill in March despite strong criticism from the opposition and media groups, who maintained the stricter registration and licensing rules under the legislation would limit freedom of speech.

Jan Kubis, the secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said he welcomed Nazarbaev's decision.