Battle for Washington
Congressional hearing proceedings

IAC Eurasia, 5 August 2001

The Congressional hearing on violations of human rights and civil liberties in Kazakhstan and across Central Asia has captured almost everyone's attention and caused heated discussions which proves that the topic, the standpoints and the very fact of such a hearing are of interest not only to those who study political developments in the region professionally. Members of political elite, journalist, political activists and ordinary citizens in Kazakhstan have the right to obtain reliable and comprehensive information about this major, in everyone's opinion, event. The same applies, however, to any other information on any other event, and this is guaranteed by Kazakhstan's Constitution.

Clearly it was the Khabar news agency's duty to air a full report of the July 18th hearings on Capitol Hill. We firmly believe that Khabar and other state-run media outlets should have given the floor to all the participants in the hearings who were present at the discussions. State-run outlets should have published all the related documents, transcripts, and other materials. This is a public duty of the media that are paid from the public purse. These are copybook maxims, and there's no need to a political science professor to know this.

State-run media outlets turned out to unable to carry out their professional duties, and the media holdings that claim they are independent and pretend to be a 'Kazakh NTV' should have taken this mission upon themselves. Instead, the duty to give the floor to the participants in the hearings was performed by the Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and Congressional Records. This illustrates the distribution of speech freedom between the West and the Central Asian ruling regimes.

In order to fill the vacuum of information about the events that took place in Washington, D.C. in July, international reputation of Kazakhstan in general, its foreign policy, the influence of foreign countries and international organizations on the situation across the region, the IAC Eurasia web site opens a new page 'Battle for Washington'. We plan to translate and post there the proceedings of both recent and future Congressional hearings, expert opinions, and articles by politicians and journalists.

IAC Eurasia, 5 August 2001


IAC Eurasia, 13 August 2001