Political opponents in Kazakhstan are charged with spreading false information
The Kazakhstani government employs digital authoritarianism in a discriminatory manner, targeting those who are perceived as opponents of the regime and who challenge or differ from the state-sanctioned narrative.
The beginning of January 2022 witnessed a series of nationwide riots and unprecedented violence known as Qandy Qantar (Bloody January). These riots were triggered by a surge in gas prices in Western Kazakhstan and profoundly impacted the entire country.
The government’s response to the uprisings was harsh and brutal. Three notable incidents illustrated the political intent to constrain freedom of expression and exert control over digital technologies in Kazakhstan. The government employs digital authoritarianism in a discriminatory manner, targeting those perceived as regime opponents who challenge or differ from the state-sanctioned narrative.
In 2014, the Kazakhstani government passed an amendment to the Criminal Code (Article 274), which criminalised the dissemination of deliberately false information. This law was introduced to combat the spread of misinformation and disinformation. However, it is frequently exploited by the government to suppress content it deems unfavourable, including materials that scrutinise the president’s family or other influential figures in the country. Such actions undermine efforts to promote democracy. This legislation curtails the right to freedom of expression.