27 February 2015 / By RTT News Staff Writer
An appeals court in Kazakhstan has upheld an order to close a media outlet known for its critical articles.
ADAM bol (“Be A Person”), an independent weekly, is the latest media outlet to be shuttered in Kazakhstan since late 2012, when authorities began a concerted crackdown on free speech and critical voices in the country.
The closure of ADAM bol stemmed from a November 18, 2014 lawsuit by the Almaty mayor’s office. It claimed that an article published in August 2014 about the conflict in Ukraine “contains attributes of war propaganda and agitation,” violating Kazakhstan’s constitution.
On November 20 an Almaty court issued an injunction suspending publication of the journal and halting the distribution of the latest print edition, and on December 24, the court stripped ADAM bol of its media license and shut it down.
The appeals court in Almaty on Thursday turned down the media outlet’s appeal against the lower court’s decision.
The court order weakens media pluralism in Kazakhstan, according to Human Rights Watch.
“With the decision to close ADAM bol, Kazakh authorities have taken another swipe at silencing independent and opposition media,” said Mihra Rittmann, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. She called on the authorities to “immediately reverse course, lift unnecessary restrictions on journalists, and allow the closed media outlets to reopen.”
The publication and its staff have been targeted many times in recent months, Human Rights Watch said.