Kazakhstan - on route via Minsk to Beijing
28 May 20120 comments
It sounds like an ominous route, in terms of the suppression of free speech, and this is exactly where Kazakhstan seems to be going.
Legislation taken out of the book of Belarusian President Lukashenko to regulate the internet is one example. It is currently not possible for the authorities to implement, but that isn't actually necessary, as they use other means to shut down websites - no need for court orders, those are really just for show.
And if, as a journalist, you remain outspoken despite legal threats against you and your newspaper, you ignore 'invitations' for discussion or joining the security services, it is now not unlikely that an attempt on your life will be made. To ultimately silence you and prevent you from publishing information that is uncomfortable for the authorities to read.
Recently I spoke to Lukpan Akhmedyarov in Uralsk, who was shot and stabbed last April. He barely made it, but insists that he will not stop working as a journalist and calls on his peers not to succumb to pressure.
'The only way for us to survive is to be open and transparent - it is our only defence and protection' he said on 17 May.