There is a bleak mood hanging over the editorial office of the Nakanune.kz website these days. The news site, which has won plaudits for its hard-hitting coverage in Kazakhstan’s beleaguered media environment, has run afoul of the country’s judicial system.
“They’re closing our mouths,” sighs Nazira Darimbet, one of the small team of journalists reporting out of a cramped office in a downtown Almaty apartment block.
She is referring to a libel case filed by a Kazakhstani bank, which alleges that Nakanune.kz’s reporting about alleged sleaze in Almaty’s construction industry damaged the bank’s reputation and caused profits to fall. The site insisted the story served the public interest, and was consistent with the spirit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s much-hyped war on corruption.
To read the full story
Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.