07ASTANA295, KAZAKHSTAN MEDIA NEWS

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #07ASTANA295.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA295 2007-02-04 05:07 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7250
RR RUEHAST
DE RUEHTA #0295/01 0350507
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040507Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8360
INFO RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 1680
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000295 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN (MO'MARA), SCA/PPD (JKAMP), DRL/PHD 
(CKUCHTA-HELBLING), INR/R/MR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KPAO KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN MEDIA NEWS 
 
Ref:  06 Almaty 2074 
 
1.  (U) "Kazakhstan Media News" is a reporting series tracking 
events and developments affecting Kazakhstan's media. 
 
DRAFT LAW ON REGISTERING PRINT HOUSES RAISES CONCERN 
 
2.  (U) In December the Ministry of Information submitted to the 
Mazhilis, Kazakhstan's lower house of parliament, a draft law "On 
Publishing Activity" which would require licensing for printing 
presses.  Media advocacy groups publicly protested the draft as an 
attempt to make media dependent on state structures and called on 
Mazhilis deputies to "show their objectivity and fidelity to 
principles" and refuse to pass it.  The draft was part of the 
package of media law amendments tightening government control over 
media and submitted by the ministry to the Mazhilis last July (see 
reftel).  The deputies excluded it from the package ultimately 
signed by President Nazarbayev on the grounds that it added a 
bureaucratic burden to media entrepreneurs.  The draft has again 
been accepted by the Mazhilis for consideration, but has not yet 
been debated. 
 
3.  The package of amendments approved by the president in the 
summer entered into force January 1, 2007, and no media have yet 
been charged with violating the new law.  The most controversial 
provisions ban anyone who previously lost a libel judgment from 
being a director of any other medium; allow media organizations to 
be closed down for technical violations; require re-registration 
upon any changes in editor, address, or frequency of publishing or 
broadcasting. 
 
LAW "ON ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DEVELOPMENT" SIGNED 
 
4.  (U) On January 11 President Nazarbayev signed the law "On 
Electronic Communication Development" and related amendments.  The 
law provides the legal framework for the development of Kazakhstan's 
information technology infrastructure, the creation of electronic 
government at the national and oblast levels, and the introduction 
of a clearly defined "vertical management structure" in electronic 
communications at all levels.  The law also regulates the creation, 
use, and protection of electronic information resources and systems, 
and access rights of individuals and legal entities to information 
technology resources. 
 
MEDIA CRITICIZE BROADCAST FREQUENCY AUCTION 
 
5.  (SBU) On January 15 the state frequency commission allocated TV 
and radio frequencies in a tender that drew criticism from several 
media representatives about Information Minister Yermukhamet 
Yertysbayev's handling of the auction.  Astana TV, which received 
several frequencies during the last auction in the fall of 2005, 
picked up another six, Ria Arna TV received seven, and Radio NS got 
three.  Channel 31 and Era TV wrote to the Presidential 
Administration Head Adilbek Dzhaksybekov asking him to annul the 
results of the tender and to conduct another "conforming to 
Kazakhstani law."  They complained that Yertysbayev held the meeting 
without a quorum; only eight of the 17 members were present and 
three of them left after the first four of 18 presentations.  They 
also said it was obvious the minister had pre-determined which 
companies would receive the frequencies, and that he rushed through 
the meeting without giving applicants a chance to defend their 
proposals. 
 
6.  (SBU) The official criterion for being awarded a frequency was a 
company's competitiveness in the media market and compliance with 
the law.  Channel 31 Executive Director Nurzhan Mukhamedzhanova was 
at the tender and told emboff that Yertysbayev said Channel 31 did 
not comply with the 50/50 Russian/Kazakh language ratio required by 
law.  She said he turned down Era TV for having "the worst news in 
Kazakhstan."  The opposition website kub.kz and pro-government 
weekly Megapolis claim the allocations reflected Yertysbayev's 
political bias.  They allege that Astana TV received frequencies to 
placate reputed owner Timur Kulibayev, who is supposedly allied with 
Prime Minister Karim Masimov, and Masimov in turn retained 
Yertysbayev as information minister after the government shuffle. 
The outlets also allege that Ria Arna belongs to Eurasia Group 
billionaire Aleksandr Mashkevich, who is purportedly Yertysbayev's 
patron.  Several sources reported that Ria Arna, a small company in 
Pavlodar, has been charged with copyright violations by a number of 
Russian television stations and does not conform with the language 
law. 
 
MEDIA ADVOCATES PROTEST PRESSURE ON WEST KAZAKHSTAN PAPER 
 
6.  (SBU) The Committee to Protect Journalists, the Adil Soz media 
advocacy NGO, and several Kazakhstani and international media 
reported the week of January 29 on attempts by regional authorities 
 
ASTANA 00000295  002 OF 002 
 
 
to silence Ural'skaya Nedelya (circulation 13,000), an independent 
weekly in Uralsk.  A judge for the Uralsk special economic court 
ruled January 11 that the paper had to pay 300,000 tenge ($2,350) in 
mo
ral damages to the Metalloizdelia company for the article "Neither 
Money, Nor Factory," alleging the company used government funds for 
an unauthorized project.  Ural'skaya Nedelya filed a formal protest, 
but the fine was withdrawn from the newspaper's bank account before 
their protest could be resolved.  On the same day as the court 
ruling, the printing company Poligrafservis canceled its contract 
with the paper.  Editor-in-chief Tamara Yeslyamova was quoted in 
reports saying the printer told her that he was pressured by the 
oblast administration into canceling the printing contract. 
Yeslyamova also said the paper had aroused the "rage" of the local 
administration with their reports on collusion in the sales of 
public land in the city center and the distribution of public 
housing intended for low income families to government workers.  Two 
other printing houses had previously cancelled their contracts with 
the paper, which is currently being printed by the Ak Zhayik 
printing house in Atyrau. 
 
7.  (SBU) The paper has a history of struggle with authorities. 
Yeslyamova founded the newspaper in June 2001 after being fired from 
her reporting job at another paper for her articles critical of the 
local administration.  Fellow reporters quit in protest and invested 
with her to start publishing Ural'skaya Nedelya.  In April 2002 
Yeslyamova took out a 24% loan to finance a mortgage for the paper's 
editorial offices, after they were evicted from their previous 
premises.  In previous conversations with emboff, she said 
advertisers had been scared off after being warned by security 
structures not to engage in business with the paper.  The paper has 
received a series of grants from the Soros Foundation, and 
correspondents have participated in USAID-sponsored training 
seminars. 
 
Ordway

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: