The OpenNet Initiative is reporting that four opposition news sites in Kazakhstan have been recently blocked, including www.kub.kz, www.zonakz.net, www.geo.kz, and www.inkar.info. The oil-rich Central Asian country has been facing increasing criticism for cracking down on independent and opposition media.
According to the OpenNet Initiative:
It has been conjectured that the possible motive for the blocking is that the sites posted transcripts of telephone conversations of high-ranking Kazakh officials related to the Aliev’s case. Rakhat Aliyev is the former son-in-law of the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbaev. Formerly a close member of Nazarbayev’s inner circle and senior official, Mr. Aliev is now sought by Kazakh police on kidnapping and illegal financial activities charges. Allegedly, someone related to Mr. Aliev posted the information in the sites’ chat rooms to tarnish the image of the Kazakh president and his administration. Shortly after the posting the four Web sites were shut down. The Kazakh government has denied any involvement in the blocking.
You can follow the unfolding situation in Kazakhstan on the OpenNet Initiative's blog.
(Note: the Citizen Media Law Project and the OpenNet Initiative are both projects of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.)