NUR-SULTAN – The Kazakh NGO International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech “Adil Soz” denounced on Wednesday an “escalation of violence” in Kazakhstan against journalists and civil rights activists.
“The events of recent months have demonstrated the escalation of violence, the aim of which is the destruction of free dialogue platforms and the intimidation of journalists and civil society activists,” Adil Soz said in a statement posted on their website.
“Since March 2019, about 30 journalists covering unauthorized rallies have been arrested,” the NGO said.
The organization noted that the Central Asian country has put in place several “permanent obstacles to freedom of expression.”
“As a rule, they (the obstacles) are justified by national laws that are not in line with international principles.”
Adil Soz said it was common at the rallies to see “young men of athletic build using umbrellas to cover the lenses of reporters’ photo and television cameras, actions that have become ubiquitous – and unpunished.”
According to “Adil Soz,” the “apogee of these criminal acts” occurred on Monday when a “group of stocky women” interrupted a press conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital and largest city, and attacked the organizers and journalists covering it.
The press conference, convened under the title “The State Fights Against Mothers and Children,” was held at the press center of the Kazakh International Office for Human Rights and Law Enforcement.
“Adil Soz” is part of IFEX, a global network dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of expression.
Reporters Without Borders, the European Federation of Journalists and 69 other organizations are members of IFEX.