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Rights Group Slams Kazakh Media Law

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Kazakh government to annul a decree implementing legislation that "muzzles" freedom of speech and association during a state of emergency.

In a statement on April 15, HRW said Astana should also amend the underlying state of emergency law.

Under the law and the decree, which went into effect on April 12, Kazakh authorities can act with minimal judicial oversight.

The newly adopted legislation allows officials in a state of emergency to issue orders to suspend or terminate media publications, and suspend the activities of political parties and public associations.

HRW's Europe and Central Asia director, Hugh Williamson, stated that the decree shows "how far the authorities are willing to go to muzzle the media outlets and independent society groups they deem threatening."
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