Kazakh journalist and newspaper persecuted

December 15, 2009 12:47 PM ET

After receiving reports of at least three defamation lawsuits filed recently against Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a prominent journalist with the independent newspaper Uralskaya Nedelya in Western Kazakhstan, in retaliation for his critical reporting on a state construction company’s illegal work on a gas pipe project, er issued the following statement...

“Authorities in Western Kazakhstan must immediately drop all politicized claims against Lukpan Akhmedyarov and Uralskaya Nedelya, and stop their attempts to silence enterprising journalism,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “The Kazakh official practice of using defamation lawsuits that result in crippling fines breeds self-censorship and hampers coverage of important issues; it must be stopped.”

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