Anna Shaternikova, “Недостаточно высокий уровень проникновения Интернета и выбор пользователями российских ресурсов препятствуют развитию казахстанского контента и распространению коммерческих интернет-услуг” [Insufficiently High Level of Internet Penetration and User Choice of Russian Resources Hinder the Development of Kazakhstan’s Content and Distribution of Commercial Internet Services], Panorama, May 8, 2010, republished by Zakon.kz at http://www.zakon.kz/171765-nedostatochno-vysokijj-uroven.html.
KAZAKHSTAN FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net contributors were bloggers. In terms of blocked content, particularly related to Aliyev, many users are not politically active or interested in accessing his writings. Those who wish to, may access them fairly easily via proxy servers and relatively simple channels like Google translate or Opera’s Turbo browser. The authorities have not engaged in significant efforts to stop such circumvention.
Civic activism aimed at promoting internet freedom is rare, though there are a few well-known nongovernmental organizations working on the topic. For example, Adilsoz, Internews, and Medianet execute monitoring projects, and report on violations of free expression or recent trends on the Kazakh internet. One recent initiative, the “For a Free Internet” campaign, started as a journalists’ protest against the closure of the newspaper Respublika, but evolved into a movement for internet freedom. Supporters carried out a few “flash mobs,” sudden protests that were planned online, in May 2009 and April 2010, to oppose changes to internet legislation, though there were no clear reports on the number of participants. The campaign has also monitored the blocking of websites and filed more than 120 lawsuits to challenge decisions to block certain websites; three of the cases have moved forward.33 Overall, civil society activists and the blogging community lack coordination and an understanding of one another’s needs, leading to limited political activism in Kazakhstan in comparison with neighboring countries like Kyrgyzstan.” VIOLATIONS OF USER RIGHTS The Kazakh constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but also provides special protection for the president, and in practice, the authorities use various tactics to control the media and limit free expression. Since 2008, the Kazakh government has taken steps to significantly change the legal landscape governing the media. First, under pressure from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), amendments aimed at liberalizing media legislation were adopted in February 2009. The changes simplified the registration process for electronic media, made it possible for the media to challenge official denials of access to information in court, and allowed media workers to use audio recorders and cameras to collect information without asking for the permission of those recorded.Although the amendments reduced some bureaucratic obstacles, they did little to contribute to political liberalization. Instead, separate draft amendments were submitted to impose new restrictions on the internet and other media entities via changes to the media law, the law on national security, the civil procedure code, the administrative code, and other laws.
Law and Mass Media of Central Asia, “Более 120 интернет-пользователей подали иски в адрес Министерства связи и информации” [More Than 120 Internet Users File Lawsuits Against the Ministry of Communication and Information], news release, May 21, 2010, http://www.medialawca.org/node/5647.
Human Rights Watch, “Human Rights in Kazakhstan.” KAZAKHSTAN FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net By the summer of 2009, these amendments were all adopted, despite protests from civil society and the international community.
The amendments declared the internet and content on all websites worldwide to be “internet resources,” without differentiating between news sites, private blogs, and chat rooms. According to the law, the prosecutor general has the power to suspend any mass media outlet, including any website, “in cases where the violation is clear” and “could pose significant harm to the protected legal interests of the public and the state,” and when a “quick intervention is needed to protect the interest of state and society.”35 Publications involving classified information, extremist propaganda, and pornography can also be restricted.
One year after the parliament adopted these changes, it passed the law granting the current president the status of “Leader of the Nation.” According to the law, Nazarbayev will have the power to decide on questions related to the state even after he leaves the presidency, and will be granted immunity for any actions taken while he was in office.
In addition, any infringement on his life is considered terrorism, and criminal responsibility is attached to any damage done to his image, including public insults or distortion of his private biographical facts.36 Thus, after two years of blocking websites and censoring information connected to the Aliyev case, the Kazakh authorities now have a legal justification for restricting access to such information, no longer needing to rely on references to “technical problems.” Although cases of imprisonment of journalists or human rights defenders, as well as closures of media outlets, have increased in the past two years, no bloggers have been prosecuted during this time. In April 2010, however, two activists—Zhanna Baytelova and Irina Mednikova—were arrested while protesting in front of Kazakhtelecom against the blocking of LiveJournal and Respublika’s websites; Baytelova was fined $US 190, and Mednikova was given an official warning for organizing an “unsanctioned public gathering.”It is difficult to track or verify efforts by the National Security Committee (KNB) to monitor the internet and mobile-phone communications. However, a series of regulations approved in 2004 obliges ISPs to retain records of users’ online activities, including via installation of special software and hardware. The information stored reportedly includes log-in times, session duration, user IP address, and speed of transmission.38 Systematic monitoring is also suggested by the speed with which content deemed threatening to the regime has been removed or blocked. In June 2010, shortly before the “For a Free Internet” Human Rights Watch, “Human Rights in Kazakhstan.” “Закон о лидере нации вступил в силу” [Law on the Leader of the Nation Comes Into Force], Today.kz, June 15, 2010, http://www.today.kz/ru/news/kazakhstan/2010-06-15/leader1.
“Kazakh Activists Fined for Protesting Website Ban,” Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, April 24, 2010, http://www.rferl.org/content/Kazakh_Activists_Fined_For_Protesting_Website_Ban/2023347.html.
OpenNet Initiave, “Country Profile: Kazakhstan.” KAZAKHSTAN FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net movement planned to hold a protest event involving the drifting of paper boats on asphalt,one of the organizers, civil society activist Dmitry Shelokov, was summoned by the KNB.
He refused to come, as there was no written notice, and the activity continued as planned.
Following the event, Shelokov received a written notice from the agency. Although several journalists and political activists have allegedly been beaten or received threatening phone calls from the KNB,40 there have been no reports of bloggers suffering such extralegal harassment.
Several of the opposition-related websites such as Respublika that have been sporadically blocked have, according to their administrators, also suffered denial-of-service attacks, the first of which occurred in February 2009.41 However, the nature and origin of the attacks have not been independently confirmed or investigated by the police.
Askar Shaygumarov, “За бумажные кораблики—в КНБ” [For Paper Boats—To KNB], Respublika, June 2, 2010, http://www.respublika-kaz.info/news/politics/9302/.
Dilbegim Mavlony, “Перечень угроз пополнился попыткой вербовки и подворным обходом журналистов” [List of Threats Against Journalists Grows with Recruiting Attempts and Home Visits], Radio Azattyk, September 30, 2009, http://rus.azattyq.org/content/Natalia_Panova_Ekaterina_Belaeva_/1840192.html.
“Интернет-СМИ «Фергана.Ру», Zona.kz и «Республика» были атакованы неизвестными хакерами почти одновременно” [Internet Media ‘Fergana.ru,’ Zona.kz and ‘Respublika’ Are Attacked by Unknown Hackers Almost Simultaneously], Fergana.ru, February, 20, 2009, http://www.ferghana.ru/news.phpid=11348.
KAZAKHSTAN FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net KENYA 2009 POPULATION: 40.1 million INTERNET FREEDOM Partly Partly INTERNET PENETRATION: 10 percent STATUS Free Free WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS BLOCKED: No Obstacles to Access 13 SUBSTANTIAL POLITICAL CENSORSHIP: No Limits on Content 11 BLOGGERS/ONLINE USERS ARRESTED: No Violations of User Rights 10 PRESS FREEDOM STATUS: Partly Free Total 34 INTRODUCTION Use of the internet and mobile telephones is relatively unfettered in Kenya, and access to the technology continues to grow. Although a lack of infrastructure and high costs still hamper connectivity for many Kenyans, the installation of two undersea cables in 2009 has dramatically improved bandwidth, and prices are starting to come down.
Since 2008, there have been no confirmed incidents of government filtering or interference with online communication. However, in January 2009, the government passed a controversial Communications Amendment Act despite warnings from civil society groups that it could hinder free expression.
The internet was first made available in Kenya in 1993, and the first commercial internet-service provider (ISP) began operating in 1995.1 Mobile phones were introduced in 1992, but only became widely available and affordable after the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) was established and two service providers—Safaricom and Kencell—were licensed in 1999. Francisca Mweu, “Overview of the Internet in Kenya,” International Telecommunication Union (prepared for African Internet & Telecom Summit, Banjul, The Gambia, June 5–9, 2000), http://www.itu.int/africainternet2000/countryreports/ken_e.htm.
Export Processing Zones Authority, Kenya’s Information & Communications Technology Sector 2005 (Nairobi: Export Processing Zones Authority, 2005), http://www.epzakenya.com/UserFiles/File/ictKenya.pdf.
KENYA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net OBSTACLES TO ACCESS Internet penetration in Kenya has continued to rise gradually, from 7.9 percent in 2008 to nearly 10 percent, or about four million users, in 2009, according to the International Telecommunication Union and the CCK.3 This trend is expected to continue in the coming years due to increased internet access through mobile phones and improved bandwidth via undersea cables.4 In 2009, the installation of cables known as Seacom and The East African Marine System (TEAMS) increased connection speeds to 13 times the total bandwidth available during the previous year,5 and raised hopes of greater connectivity in the future.
However, costs for the average user did not drop dramatically, as providers claimed that they needed to recoup the cost of investment in the infrastructure before reducing prices.The mobile-phone penetration rate was estimated at 60 percent as of mid-2010, significantly higher than internet penetration. An additional 28 percent of Kenyans have access to another person’s mobile phone, indicating even broader usage.7 According to the CCK’s latest statistics, 1.98 million Kenyans, or 4.75 percent of the population, have accessed the internet via their mobile phones.8 This group forms the vast majority of users with their own internet subscriptions, as opposed to those who access the internet at cybercafes or other public access points.9 A recent study by Opera, a software company that monitors trends in mobile browsing, showed that Kenya has the most intensive mobileinternet user community in Africa, with each user browsing an average of 525 pages per month.Despite these advances, the spread of the internet is hampered by a poor telecommunications infrastructure and lack of electricity, particularly in rural areas. This partly explains the disproportionately high concentration of internet subscribers in Kenya’s two largest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa. The government is currently working to remedy the disparity between rural and urban access through the introduction of Pasha digital International Telecommunication Union (ITU), “ICT Statistics 2009—Internet,” http://www.itu.int/ITUD/ICTEYE/Indicators/Indicators.aspx, accessed February 11, 2011; Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK), “Quarterly Sector Statistics Report, Second Quarter Oct-Dec 2009/2010,” http://www.cck.go.ke/resc/statistics/Sector_Statistics_Report_Q2_2009-2010.pdf, accessed August 23, Ian Mansfield, “3G Services and MNP to Drive Kenyan Telecom Sector,” cellular-news, May 31, 2010, http://www.cellularnews.com/story/43566.php.
CCK, “Quarterly Sector Statistics Report, Second Quarter Oct-Dec 2009/2010.” Catherine Riungu, “No Hope of Cheap Internet with Providers Locked into 25-yr Deals,” East African, October 5, 2009, http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/667644/-/qy9vnkz/-/index.html.
Gunnar Camner, Caroline Pulver, and Emil Sjoblom, What Makes a Successful Mobile Money Implementation M-Pesa in Kenya and Tanzania (Nairobi: Financial Sector Deepening Kenya, 2009), http://www.fsdkenya.org/pdf_documents/09-0828_MPESA_in_Kenya_Tanzania.pdf.
CCK, “Quarterly Sector Statistics Report, Second Quarter Oct-Dec 2009/2010.” CCK, “Quarterly Sector Statistics Report, Second Quarter Oct-Dec 2009/2010.” Victor Juma, “Mobile Internet on Course to Becoming Top Earner for Firms,” Business Daily, April 22, 2010, available at http://allafrica.com/stories/201004210995.html.
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