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

Statement by the Adil Soz Foundation in Honor of World Press Freedom Day

3 may 2024

On May 3, we celebrate World Press Freedom Day, a day proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993 in commemoration of the Windhoek Declaration, which was adopted on May 3, 1991. Settled by African publishers, editors, and journalists, the Declaration underscores the indispensable role of a free press in global society and calls on governments worldwide to ensure press freedom. More than three decades later, the historical relationship between seeking, receiveing, and dissemination information freely and public good remains as vital as ever. 

The value of press freedom is immeasurable. In Kazakhstan, it enables citizens to be better informed and more engaged in the civic life of their communities, making decisions that are more considered and acting more effectively to the benefit of their region, city, and country. 

Journalists from independent media diligently verify facts, attend events, and pose challenging questions to officials—often at great personal risk. Unfortunately, they frequently encounter threats, legal actions, and cyberattacks. 

Our monitoring indicates that over the past decade, violations against journalists have persistently been high.  

Since early 2022, traditional threats such as lawsuits and physical violence have been compounded by cyber and telephone harassment, the creation of fake accounts, threats to block Kazakh media abroad, and damage to journalists’ and editors’ property. Cyberattacks on media websites and accounts remain unabated. 

These emerging threats constitute a grave assault on press freedom and the right to disseminate information, demanding immediate measures to counteract them. 

Since the beginning of this year, six preliminary investigations related to the dissemination of knowingly false information, creating a danger of violation of public order or infliction of substantial harm to the rights and legal interests of citizens (Article 274 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan)—have been launched, with four being pursued by the police. 

Out of nine administrative charges, five pertained to libel—four targeted at journalists and bloggers. Additionally, three charges were brought under Article 456-2, which concerns the posting and dissemination of false information, with one case resulting in a fine for a blogger. 

Journalists such as Jamilya Maricheva, Marina Nizovkina, Duman Tanabasov, Erzhan Bagdatov, Askhat Niyazov, Daniyar Adilbekov, Askar Aktleuov, and Ardak Erubaeva have faced pre-trial investigations and trials since the start of the year. 

We urge both government agencies and private entities to respect journalists' rights, uphold the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, and refrain from interfering with media operations. 

Truly free society is predicated on the freedom of expression. 


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