ASTANA, July 13, 2011 (RFE / RL) – Some prominent Kazakh bloggers claim that the government’s blocking of the blogging platform WordPress since June was politically motivated, reports the Kazakh service of RFE / RL.
In an official response to MP and active WordPress user Murat Abenov, leading Kazakh Internet provider KazTeleCom said on July 12 that it was blocking national access to WordPress due to two “illegal” blogs.
The letter said that in February, the Saryarkin regional court in Astana banned two blogs – jamaat.wordpress.com and caucase.wordpress.com – because they published “illegal information”. He did not specify.
KazTeleCom added that it could not block the two blogging sites because they had identical IP addresses, and therefore stated that it should block the entire WordPress platform and all of its blogs.
Kazakh blogger Murat Mulkubaev, who heads the public organization Pirate Party of Kazakhstan, said authorities were blocking the WordPress blogging platform because they feared criticism.
He said he was suspicious that the blockade of the WordPress platform coincided with Kazakhstan joining a customs union with Belarus and Russia.
He said the Kazakh authorities wanted to avoid criticism from opponents of the union.
Mulkubaev said there are some 500 Kazakh-speaking bloggers on the WordPress platform. But he added that now the main pages for social discussions are on Facebook and Twitter.
Dina Baydildaeva, a Kazakh blogger and member of the public association Liberty, told RFE / RL that the previous blocking of livejournal.com and blogger.com and the continued blocking of WordPress violated international and national information laws.
She said her organization, which is in the process of obtaining official registration, will demand that the Ministry of Communications and Information as well as KazTeleCom respect the right of people to freely access information.
Tamara Kaleyeva, who heads human rights organization Adil Soz, told RFE / RL that KazTeleCom went beyond the court ruling to the detriment of internet users.
She said the provider did not have the right to block the entire platform because of two blogs.