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Kazakh Pro-Presidential Party Criticizes Media Bill

Darigha Nazarbaeva (file photo) (RFE/RL) June 6, 2006 -- Kazakhstan's Asar party, led by President Nursultan Nazarbaev's daughter, Darigha Nazarbaeva, has criticized a new government-proposed media bill as undemocratic.

Asar says the bill backtracks on recent progress made in democracy and civil society.

If approved, the bill would allow the closure of media organizations for technical breaches. It would also introduce government licensing for print houses and a registration fee for media organizations.

On June 5, several media advocacy groups criticized the bill as restrictive and repressive.

Information Minister Ermukhamet Ertysbaev said the bill is aimed at putting the media market in order and preventing abuses of freedom of speech.

Asar's move against the bill appears to signal a deepening rift between Nazarbaeva and Ertysbaev.

Last month, Ertysbaev said the government intends to take full control over the Khabar television channel, part of a media group controlled by Nazarbaeva.


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