A court in Almaty fined the representative office of the Kazakh service of Radio Liberty (Radio Azattyk) 103,500 tenge (about $220) for “placing false information.” The publication was punished under the new Article 456-2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of Kazakhstan, which is called an analogue of the Russian article on “fakes” (Article 13.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation). Radio Azattyk became the first Kazakh media to which this article was applied, the editorial office clarified.
The reason for the case against Radio Azattyk was a statement by Shymkent resident Alisher Turabaev, who considered the definition of “led by Russia” in relation to the CSTO in the news about the transfer of an activist who survived torture in the Atbasar colony to a detention center in the city of Kokshetau to be unreliable information. According to his version, the information provided by Radio Azattyk does not correspond to reality, since according to the CSTO charter, the main body of the CSTO is the Collective Security Council, and not any state that is part of the association.
The first court hearing took place on October 12; a total of three hearings were held as part of this case, which were held online. The court rejected the requests of Radio Azattyk lawyer Zhangazy Kunserkin to order a linguistic examination and to terminate the proceedings due to the absence of an administrative violation.
The lawyer claims that the phrase in the news that became the reason for the trial does not violate the law. He also noted that the plaintiff was unable to answer questions about whether the information posted in the article violates the legal rights of the CSTO, as well as his, as a citizen of Kazakhstan, his legitimate interests.
The resolution has not yet entered into legal force and can be appealed to a higher court, the editors of the publication noted.
A new article on administrative liability for the dissemination of false information, which was introduced into the Code of Administrative Offenses by the country’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, came into force in September this year. In addition to punishment for “fakes” for the media, it provides for fines of 69 thousand tenge ($155) for individual bloggers and 138 thousand tenge ($311) for influencer entrepreneurs.
Administrative fines for bloggers for “fakes,” as explained in the Prosecutor General’s Office of Kazakhstan, will become a prevention of more serious crimes, for which, according to Article 274 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a fine of 3.4 million tenge ($7,785) or up to a year in prison is provided.
Kazakhstani human rights activists noted that after the introduction of the new article, every blogger could be brought to administrative responsibility for disseminating false information. Moreover, it is not necessary that this was done intentionally on his part.
In turn, legal experts argued that the new norm turned out to be redundant in a legal sense, since responsibility for the dissemination of false information is spelled out in the Civil, Administrative and Criminal Codes of Kazakhstan.