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Kazakhstan February 1, 2006
H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev
Office of the President
Republic of Kazakhstan
Fax: (011.7.3272) 63-95-95
To an already long list of efforts to tie the hands of a free press in Kazakhstan we now add Dauir, your country’s biggest printing company. We learn this week that Dauir, which is run by your sister-in-law, Svetlana Nazarbayeva, has informed the editors of seven opposition newspapers in Almaty that it will no longer print their publications.
According to our information, Dauir has notified the editors of Svoboda Slova, Epokha, Apta.kz, Soz, Pravda Kazakhstana, Pravo.Ekonomika.Politika.Kultura and Azat that it will not renew their contracts. The ostensible reason is that Dauir is “changing equipment.” But it has escaped no one’s notice that all seven publications have in common an editorial position of opposition to your government.
Making things worse for our Kazakhstani colleagues is that other printers have also refused to print opposition newspapers. Last September — just two months before your re-election — Vremya-Print jettisoned previous clients: Svoboda Slova, Epokha, Apta.kz, Soz, Azat and Zhuma-Taims without explanation. All six had reputations for aggressive coverage of your opponent, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai.
The world well knows of Kazakhstan’s persistent hostility to journalists whose work is considered critical of your government. Shortly before last year’s election, police raided Dauir’s offices and removed copies of Svoboda Slova and Zhuma-Taims . On December 22, 2005, the Associated Press reported that a Kazakh court shuttered Zhuma-Taims for carrying material “insulting the president.” The Committee to Protect Journalists has compiled a catalog of intimidation against broadcasters and newspapers including lawsuits, tax audits and closures — for trivial violations of Kazakhstan law such as having an “un-registered” logo.
In your New Year’s address to the people of Kazakhstan, Your Excellency, you remarked that “the welfare and the country’s prosperity is the creative labor, friendship, faith in our own powers and future.” We see nothing of creativity, friendship or confidence in Kazakhstan in your government’s evident enmity to free expression.
Co-chairmen – Freedom of the Press Committee
Prime Minister Daniyal Akhmetov
Office of the Prime Minister
Republic of Kazakhstan
Fax: (011.7.3272) 63-76-33 or 63-95-95
Ambassador of Kazakstan to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
1401 16 th Street, NW
Washington , DC 20036
Fax: (202) 232-5845
Ambassador Yerzhan Kazyhanov
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kazakhstan
to the United Nations
866 United Nations Plaza
New York , NY 10017
Fax: (212) 230-1172
John M. Ordway
U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan
Embassy of the United States of America
99/97A Furmanov Street
Fax: (011.7.3272) 50-24-77