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Kazak Magazine Closed Because of Ukraine Article
After losing its legal battle with the Kazak authorities, the Adam Bol magazine has closed down, but its editors plan to launch a new publication.
On February 26, an appeals court in Almaty turned down the magazine’s appeal against a December ruling stripping it of its publishing license and ordering its closure.
The injunction was filed by the city mayor’s office on the grounds that an article published in August on the conflict in Ukraine was in breach of a constitutional provision banning “war propaganda”.
In January and early February, chief editor Guljan Yergalieva staged an 18-day hunger strike to press for a fair review of the shutdown order. Interviewed by IWPR on the penultimate day of her protest, Yergalieva said, “Unfortunately, the authorities here have been unable to get away from the bad, unhealthy practice of getting rid of their opponents, blocking the potential for competition, and violating all sorts of rights. The media are of course a very dangerous opponent for regimes like this.”
Adam Bol had carried a number of articles criticising Kazakstan’s political elite and alleging high-level corruption. The final straw was the August article about the presence of volunteers from Kazakstan fighting on the Ukrainian side.
Adam Bol editor Miras Nurmukhanbetov suspects Russia may have raised objections to the piece with the Kazak authorities.
Political analyst Dosym Satpaev points out that Adam Bol was critical both of Kazakstan’s accession to the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union and of Russia’s actions in Ukraine – both hugely sensitive issues for the leadership as it tries to steer a way through troubled waters.
Yergalieva says she has been granted approval to launch a new magazine called Adam. The same editorial team will produce it, but she is stepping back as chief editor, to be replaced by her colleague Ayan Sharipbaev.
Botagoz Seidakhmetova is IWPR’s radio editor for Kazakstan.
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