Accessibility links

Breaking News

Kazakhstan Seeks To 'Stamp Out' Dissent On Social Media, Report Finds

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev

Kazakhstan is using "increasingly elaborate and aggressive methods to stamp out" dissenting voices on the Internet and social media, Amnesty International warns.

Kazakh authorities are using increased powers provided by recent legislation to "to shut down or block access to particular websites," the London-based group said in a report issued on February 9.

It said President Nursultan Nazarbaev's government is also using court rulings in criminal and administrative cases to target people "for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."

The report cited the cases of human rights defenders Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan, who were detained in May 2016 after posting information about antigovernment protests against changes to the Central Asian country's Land Code.

The two were sentenced to five years in prison each after being found guilty of inciting social discord, spreading knowingly false information, and violating the law regulating public assemblies.

Amnesty International considers both men to be prisoners of conscience.

Nazarbaev has ruled Kazakhstan since before it gained independence in the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

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

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.