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Media Watchdog Slams Kazakhstan For Censoring ‘Borat’

Borat, aka Sacha Baron Cohen (epa) 15 December 2005 -- The international media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the Kazakh government for censoring the internet web page of a British comedian who portrays a Kazakh journalist.

British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen plays Borat, a sexist and racist television reporter. In November, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry threatened to take Cohen to court for spreading harmful misconceptions about Kazakhstan. Cohen used the character's website -- -- to respond to the threats.

On 13 December, Nurlan Isin, head of a government-appointed group that regulates websites that end in the .kz domain name, said Cohen's site was suspended, "so he can't badmouth Kazakhstan under the .kz domain name."

But Paris-based RSF says that “the role of bodies that manage the country code top-level domain names is above all technical. They are not qualified to censor the contents of sites.”

RSF has called on Frank Fowlie, ombudsman for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the international body that registers domain names, to intervene.


RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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