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Kazakh TV station’s journalists complain of police harassment

12.01.2012    source:

Stan-TV editor Asel Limzhanova says local officials have tried to block the station’s reporting in Zhanaozen.ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Journalists from the independent online television station Stan-TV say police in the restive city of Zhanaozen are hindering the media’s work, RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service reports. 

Stan-TV chief editor Asel Limzhanova, along with journalists Zhuldyz Toleu and Qasym Amanzhol, said in Almaty on January 11 that local police and security forces have been trying to block their coverage of the mass strike of oil workers in the western city of Zhanaozen since May.

They said the tension between police and journalists worsened after the deadly clashes between striking oil workers and police took place in the city on December 16.

The Stan-TV journalists added that they and their relatives had been under pressure since last summer as they started covering the standoff between oil workers and the OzenMunaiGaz oil company.

After the deadly clashes last month in Zhanaozen and the nearby town of Shetpe that left at least 17 protesters dead, the Stan-TV journalists and their relatives were summoned more often to police for questioning.

"As we are currently under police scrutiny we would like to state publicly that we do not use drugs, we are not associated with any extremist group, and do not possess any weapons, " Limzhanova said.

The three also stated that they have officially called on President Nursultan Nazarbaev to protect them from security officials’ and law enforcement officers’ "lawlessness."

The Almaty-based Stan-TV makes video reports from the five Central Asian countries and posts them on its website. It is associated with Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov, who is wanted in Kazakhstan on criminal charges but lives in self-imposed exile in England.

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