Сөз бостандығын қорғау халықаралық қоры
Международный фонд защиты свободы слова
The International Foundation for Freedom of Speech Protection

Violations of freedom of speech in Kazakhstan March 2024

17 june 2024

The International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech «Adil Soz» presents an overview of events reflecting the situation in Kazakhstan with freedom of expression, receipt, and dissemination of information in March 2024. 

In March 2024, the monitoring by the Adil Soz Foundation recorded the following: 

7 reports of violations of the rights of journalists and the media. 

13 reports related to the right to freely receive and disseminate information, including 9 cases of refusals or restrictions in providing socially significant information. 

6 reports of pre-trial and judicial claims and lawsuits filed against journalists and the media (data on pre-trial and judicial proceedings do not include reports related to ongoing cases).  

Among them: 

5 civil pre-trial and judicial claims against the media. 

1 accusation of spreading knowingly false information (Article 73-3 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan). 


March 15: President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev summarized the key ideological principles and basic guidelines of the country at the Third Meeting of the National Kurultai. These principles include independence and patriotism, unity and solidarity, justice and responsibility, law and order, diligence and professionalism, creation and innovation. The President emphasized that only by adhering to these fundamental principles can the nation successfully meet the challenges of the 21st century. Tokayev called on authorized state bodies to review their work and align it with the stated platform. Special attention should be given to promoting fundamental values through the media and creative industries such as cinema, music, and literature. The President noted that the relevant department would need to produce original projects that will be in demand by the audience. 

March 31: Minister of Culture and Information Aida Balayeva addressed social media users in connection with the challenging situation in the country due to floods and the dissemination of information on the internet. The Minister noted that a special headquarters, coordinated by the head of state, has been established at the government level. 

"At the same time, this situation is widely discussed on social networks, and not only real information from the scene is being disseminated, but also provocative and false information. Some citizens, without verifying its accuracy, spread it, leading to false responses from emergency services, which already have extremely difficult working conditions and schedules. This causes significant harm to effective work in conditions of a shortage of technical means", Balayeva wrote on Facebook. 

Aida Balayeva urged people to verify the accuracy of the information before disseminating it and warned of the responsibility for spreading false information. 



March 1: A draft order by the Minister of Culture and Information titled "On Approval of the Rules for Restricting Access to Internet Resources, Foreign Online Platforms, and Instant Messaging Services by Order of the Authorized Body in the Field of Mass Media" was published for public discussion. The explanatory note states that the document was developed "in order to ensure the country's information security, as well as to timely respond to and counter illegal content disseminated in the national internet space". 

March 13: Deputies of the Majilis approved in the first reading the draft law "On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Optimization of the Criminal, Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Executive Codes." Minister of Justice Azamat Yeskaraev, who presented the bill, stated that the project, aimed at ensuring the stability of criminal and criminal procedure legislation, addresses three main blocks of issues in a balanced manner. These are aimed at strengthening the protection of the rights of citizens and entrepreneurs, enhancing the adversarial nature of the criminal process, and optimizing and debureaucratizing the criminal process. To strengthen the adversarial nature of the criminal process, it is proposed to enhance the role of defense attorneys. Specifically, this includes allowing them to submit a defense act (a document opposing the indictment) to the court, and to publish rebuttals in the media when information disseminated by prosecution authorities creates public resonance and negatively impacts the suspect. Importantly, defense attorneys must not disclose pre-trial investigation data. 


Obstruction of the Lawful Professional Activities of Journalists and Media 

Since 2019, the Adil Soz Foundation has registered over 300 incidents where journalists were obstructed in their lawful professional activities or attacked while working.During the monitoring, 18 cases were recorded where journalists appealed to law enforcement agencies, demanding that the violators be held accountable under Article 158 of the Criminal Code. However, most investigations were discontinued, or cases were reclassified under other articles. 

Over six years, Adil Soz has tracked three court cases and two convictions for obstructing the lawful activities of journalists. 


       Type of Incident

Number of reports






As of March 2024















Appeals to law enforcement







Case materials for obstruction of lawful professional activities of a journalist submitted to court



1(in 2022 )





Verdict in favor of affected journalists



In 2023

In 2023




In March 2024, four reports of obstruction of journalists' lawful professional activities were recorded. These include: 


Kostanay: A judge removed a journalist from "TobolInfo" news agency from an open court session, citing banking secrecy. The session involved a city resident's lawsuit against two banks where fraudsters had taken out loans in her name. 

Atyrau and Astana: Journalists from "Azattyk" faced obstacles from law enforcement officers while filming videos for reports on the media kurultai and the russian presidential elections. 

Also in March: 


Astana: Presiding Judge Zhandos Musabekuly of the Military Court of Astana removed journalists from five media outlets from the courtroom during an open trial because one of the parties objected to photo and video recording. Journalists were provided with a broadcast in another room, which began almost 40 minutes late with extremely poor sound quality. The trial continued during this time. 

Atyrau: The editorial team of "Ak Zhayik" received another notice from Roskomnadzor about their website being added to the "Unified Register of Domain Names" containing information prohibited for distribution in the Russian Federation. The notice was sent in connection with the publication "War in Ukraine: Day 219". 


The monitoring was prepared according to reports to correspondents of the «Adil Soz» Foundation and information from open sources. 

Head of the Monitoring Service of the «Adil Soz» Foundation - Elena Tsoy 

Email: lena@adilsoz.kz 

For all monitoring-related inquiries, you can also contact: info@adilsoz.kz  


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