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Kazakh Journalists Call For Clarity On Internet Law

"Destructive"? President Nursultan Nazarbaev answers questions via Internet in June 2007.
Kazakh journalists are urging authorities to explain their criteria for defining "destructive" websites, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Tamara Kaleeva, chairwoman of the Almaty-based media monitoring organization Adil Soz (Just Word), said at a press conference today that several organizations uniting Kazakh journalists -- including the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan -- made the call in an open letter to the government.

In August, the Kazakh government approved a controversial law that recognizes all websites as media outlets.

In conjunction with the law, a recently established government office announced that it had begun to identify websites in the country that are deemed to contain "destructive" material.

Kaleeva said the owners, moderators, and editors of online news portals in the country have no idea what criteria the new office will use to identify such content.

She said that lack of clarity poses a threat to freedom of speech as "the lack of free dialogue and transparency could lead to lawless actions by state organs."