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Suicide Group Panic Spreads to Kazakhstan

Authorities in Kazakhstan have responded to the moral panic about the widely reported online suicide games by proposing fresh restrictions on access to social media websites.

The scare originally had its roots in Russia, where media outlets — primarily the liberal-leaning Novaya Gazeta — last year whipped up a hysteria over claims that shadowy individuals on the internet were egging on youngsters into taking their own lives. Novaya Gazeta came in for strong criticism for creating a hype on the basis of scant evidence of a real major threat.

Out of the blue, however, at the end of January, several Russian-language outlets in Central Asia almost simultaneously took up the mantle of reviving the scare.

In Kazakhstan, the charge was led by privately owned television channel KTK, which ran a lurid and skimpily sourced report claiming the grisly fad had spread from Russia.

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Suicide Group Panic Spreads to Kazakhstan

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