Kazakhstan will adopt a new law “On mass media”

18 March 2023

According to the information and legal system of normative legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the draft law “On Mass Media” is at the final stage.

In December 2022, the government of Kazakhstan adopted a resolution “On the plan of legislative work of the government of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2023”. At the end of February 2023, the document was amended by adding sections “On Mass Media” and “On Amendments and Additions to Some Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Mass Media Issues”. The amended resolution was signed on March 1.

Public discussion of the amendments was completed on February 22, when the National Media Association of the Republic held a conference with the participation of journalists, media leaders, as well as representatives of public organizations. Kemelbek Oishybaev, head of the National Media Association, announced this on his personal account on the social network. Among the speakers and guests of the conference were: Minister of Information and Social Development Darkhan Kydyrali, Chairman of the Information Committee Yeldos Nashirali and Director of the State Media Policy Department Zhasulan Umiraliyev.

During the discussion of the draft law, the participants of the conference were especially interested in Article 26, according to which journalists are allowed to “execute the instructions of the editorial office under special conditions with the permission of an official of the national security body, internal affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the authorized body in the field of civil protection”, and are also obliged to coordinate informational messages with these persons before being covered in the media. During the discussion, the participants noted the incorrectness of this requirement, since with an alleged deliberate delay in agreeing on the material, the news about the event will lose relevance.

Outside the conference, this item is also negatively assessed by the head of the Public Foundation “Legal Media Center” Diana Okremova.

“What are special conditions? This is not necessarily military action, it is any emergency situation and regime of a technogenic social nature. In fact, any catastrophe, for example, the one in Ekibastuz, the coronavirus pandemic, can be brought under these special conditions. What happens in these special conditions? Journalists need to coordinate all actions and materials with officials. It seems to me that this is excessive control over the media, ”Okremova said.

Experts, as well as users on social networks, noted that Article 26 can be perceived as a censorship measure, which is prohibited under the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Ministry listened to public opinion and announced that the paragraphs of the section may be excluded or subject to significant adjustments.

The Law “On Mass Media” was developed with the aim of improving the legislation affecting the media, taking into account the interests of the state, the demands of society and the trends in the development of the media sphere. As stated in the explanatory note to this draft, as a result of the adoption, such socio-economic and legal consequences are expected as, firstly, raising the status of professional journalists, secondly, updating the mechanisms for financing state information policy, and thirdly, improving the interaction of the masses – media with government agencies and, finally, changing trends in the field of television and radio broadcasting.

It should be noted that the initiative to update laws in this direction belongs to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. As part of the Address to the people of Kazakhstan “New Kazakhstan: the path of renewal and modernization”, on March 16, 2022, he proposed to revise the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On the Mass Media”.

Photo source: gov.kz