Six newspapers that have covered an opposition candidate's presidential campaign were prevented from publishing their current editions, according to local and international press reports. Managers at the private printing company Vremya-Print in the financial capital of Almaty refused to explain why they would not publish Epokha, Svoboda Slova, Zhuma-taims, Apta.kz, Azat, and Soz.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his allies routinely pressure private printers not to publish independent newspapers, and they regularly stifle critical news reporting with politicized lawsuits and criminal investigations, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Nazarbeyev, who has ruled for 16 years, is running against Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, the candidate of the opposition alliance, "For a Fair Kazakhstan," in the December 4 election. The six newspapers, with a combined circulation reported at 400,000, are among the few media outlets that have reported on Tuyakbai's campaign. At least some are sympathetic to his candidacy.
Editors for the newspapers said at a press conference on Monday that other printers were also refusing them services, the Russian service of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.