The chief editor of a leading news website in Kazakhstan has announced that he has left the country out of concern that he may be targeted for prosecution.
Bekzhan Idrisov, who edits Radiotochka.kz, made the announcement on his Facebook page on December 26. The publisher of his website and editor of Central Asia Monitor newspaper, Bigeldy Gabdullin, was detained by the authorities in mid-November on suspicion of committing fraud.
Stories of reporters feeling compelled to flee Kazakhstan are a stark reminder of the problems face by independent media in the country as they negotiate financial constraints and pressure from the government to refrain from critical coverage.
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Crimea has had no independent media for two and a half years now — a Crimean journalist speaks about the situation on condition of anonymity.
The author, a Crimean journalist, has requested that we publish this article anonymously.
In March 2014, after the referendum on Crimea’s “unification” with Russia that was not recognised beyond the latter’s borders, Ukrainian legislation was gradually squeezed out by Russian law. The official transition period was supposed to end on 1 January 2015, but there were exceptions in some areas. Free registration for Crimea’s media companies by Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor was, for example, extended to 1 April of that year. Crimean media could effectively continue to function up until then, but many found their access to government bodies already closed and officials refusing to talk to them.
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