U.S. ambassador warns Kazakhstan about lawsuits against media,criticizes Internet regulation

U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Richard Hoagland says the numerous slander lawsuits against media organizations and journalists in Kazakhstan make the country farther from Europe.
In an interview published in the Thursday edition of the newspaper Vremya, Hoagland recommended that the Kazakh authorities use European standards while resolving such issues. Hoagland also pointed out that the amendments to the legislation on Internet regulation recently adopted in Kazakhstan cannot be characterized as a step in the direction of liberalization. The U.S. administration has made it very clear to the Kazakh administration that the U.S. regrets the adoption of these amendments, but now that they have become a law it is very important how this law will be fulfilled, said the ambassador. Hoagland said he is hoping that the law will not be used to restrict freedom of speech and the media in Kazakhstan. In June, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a law amending some legislative acts dealing with information and communication networks, under which all Internet resources, including websites, blogs, chatrooms, Internet shops, and electronic libraries, are regarded as media outlets and bear appropriate criminal and civil liability.
ALMATY. July 30 (Interfax)
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