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Opposition newspaper charged with "insulting" president for re-printing critical articles from foreign media

(Adil Soz/IFEX) - On 17 May 2007, the National Security Committee (NSC) filed charges against the opposition newspaper "Taz'zhargan" for insulting the honor and dignity of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, following the publication of materials in the newspaper reprinted from foreign media outlets.

The charges stem specifically from two "Taz'zhargan" reports reprinted from the newspaper "New York Times" and a Turkish newspaper, entitled "Price for a lunch".

In the "New York Times" report, Congressman Klein called the Kazakh authorities "bandits and cutthroats."

In November 2006, an NSC office demanded that "Taz'zhargan" chief editor Bahytkul Makimbai submit an explanation in writing for the second report, and threatened to take action in response to the publication of any materials insulting the honor and dignity of the president.

"Considering that the materials were taken from other news outlets, and none were actually written by 'Taz'zhargan' journalists, we see no legal ground for the charges to be filed against the paper," said Yelena Malygina, assistant president of Adil Soz Foundation.

"Another fact is that both reports were published long before, in 2005 and 2006. The case is similar to the case of 'Respublika' newspaper, which faced charges in 2005 for reprinting an interview that Vladimir Zhirinovskiy gave to a Russian newspaper," she added.

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