ALMATY -- An Almaty court has ruled that the independent online television company Stan-TV must stop using the antennas on the roof of its Almaty offices, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
The Almaty-based nongovernmental organization Adil Soz responded to the ruling with a statement saying the court's decision imposes limitations on the station's professional activities.
The court's ruling was based on a statement by the Almaty city Health Office that the antennas and equipment of the Internet providers ASTEL and Digital TV pose a threat to the residents of nearby buildings.
On August 23, Stan-TV editors Elina Zhdanova and Baurzhan Musirov told journalists that the company had been subjected to intrusive inspections because of its independent news coverage.
They said their offices were inspected without prior notice in mid-August by Almaty's architecture and construction control, fire-safety control, and hygiene control agencies.
The inspectors told them the inspections were undertaken in response to written complaints from residents of nearby apartment blocks about the large antennas mounted on the roof of Stan-TV's office. The inspectors said the residents complained that the antennas are affecting their health.
Zhdanova and Musirov said they subsequently met with some of those residents, who told them police had pressured them to write letters of complaint.
Stan-TV is funded by fugitive Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov, who lives in self-imposed exile in England.
The station -- which covers Central Asia in video reports posted on its website -- often publishes video reports critical of the Kazakh government and some of its officials.
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