A government program in Kazakhstan intended to generate good news has produced only negative headlines of late.
In February, authorities arrested prominent journalist Seitkazy Matayev on various charges of fraud and embezzlement. One line of inquiry involves the alleged misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds handed out as part of a program popularly known as the state order.
The case is drawing increased attention to what the government casts as a measure to aid the development of media, but what critics deride as little more than a Soviet-style mechanism for producing rose-tinted accounts of current events.
The system for subsidizing media in Kazakhstan was established in 2010 and consolidated several other lines of funding for government-friendly outfits. State media outlets get expenses covered through the system, while private sector peers are required to compete for allocations.
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Aktan Rysaliev is a pseudonym for a journalist working in Almaty, Kazakhstan.