VIENNA, 28 December 2011 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, expressed concern about a controversial law on television and radio broadcasting adopted today by Kazakhstan’s upper chamber of Parliament.
“The law could violate the right of citizens to freely receive and impart information by increasing government control of electronic media. The law does not adequately address opportunities provided by the switch to digitalization in broadcast media and ultimately threatens broadcast pluralism,” Mijatović said. “Regretfully this law was adopted without taking into consideration the recommendations made to the draft by Kazakh civil society and my Office.”
Mijatović said that her Office had provided extensive assistance to the authorities, including an in-depth legal analysis, to ensure the law would comply with OSCE media freedom commitments. At two roundtable discussions in Astana, the Government was presented with a set of specific recommendations to improve the draft.
On 12 December, Mijatović, in a letter to Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov, reiterated the key problems with the proposal and urged the authorities to take into account international standards and the recommendations made by civil society.
“I call on President Nursultan Nazarbayev to veto the law and enable the discussion to start anew and in earnest. I am ready to continue assisting with the reform of the country's media law in line with OSCE and international standards,” Mijatović said.