Controversial Kazakh Bill Allowing Blocking Of Social Networks Passes First Hurdle

Nur-Sultan – The Kazakh parliament, the Mazhilis family, has approved the first reading of a bill that would allow blocking of social networks and messaging apps if their owners fail to set up local offices in the Central Asian country.

According to a bill amending the Child Rights Protection Act, which was approved in its initial reading on September 15, social networking and foreign messaging services will have to To register in Kazakhstan and set up local offices to obtain permission to work in the country.

The bill still faces two further readings in Parliament, and then must be approved by the upper legislature, the Senate, before President Kassym-Zumart Tokayev signs it into law.

Affected companies will have six months to register in Kazakhstan and open local offices once the bill becomes law.

The bill was initiated by lawmakers Mazhilis Aidos Sary and Dinara Zakieva, who also proposed allowing regulators to block websites without a court ruling.

The leadership of the tightly controlled former Soviet republic has been concerned about anti-government rallies in recent years organized by the leader of the banned Democratic Choice Movement of Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Ablyazov, who lives in the European Union.

International human rights groups have said that Kazakhstan often withholds or restricts ratings on social networks. Freedom House in his house Annual Report At the level of Internet freedom in the world, Kazakhstan has been defined as a “not free” country.

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