Index 2024
142/ 180
Score : 41.11
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
134/ 180
Score : 45.87
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

While the quality of online news is improving, repression is modernising, with increasing control of the Internet, the only space where independent media outlets can express themselves.

Media landscape

Wrecked by a succession of repressive reforms since 1997, the media landscape is now essentially a propaganda outlet for the Kazakh regime. Only a handful of independent outlets remain, including, Uralskaya Nedelya, and the KazTAG press agency. But professional journalists have launched alternative projects on YouTube, Telegram and Instagram, such as Protenge, Za Nami Uzhe Vyekhali and Guiperborei (Hyperborea), which contradict the narrative of pro-government media.

Political context

Authorities use all available means – arrests, assaults, telecommunications blackouts, Internet shutdowns – to prevent media coverage of major events, such as the unprecedented protests against the government in January 2022. Access to information is restricted, and journalists’ questions at government briefings are censored. The government pays private media to disseminate its propaganda. The government controls the appointment of top editors at state-owned and state-controlled media. The Ministry of Information itself serves as a media regulator.

Legal framework

Even though the constitution prohibits censorship, it still exists. Defamation has been decriminalised, but “knowingly spreading false information” has not. The right to the confidentiality of sources can be lifted by a simple court decision. The ongoing reform of the media law could further tighten the government’s grip on the media. The foreign ministry will be able to arbitrarily deny accreditation to any media or journalist on broadly defined “national security” grounds.

Economic context

State support for the media depends directly on their promotion of the government’s agenda and official propaganda. Independent media, deprived of government subsidies, rely entirely on advertising and are in competition with pro-government media that can afford to lower their advertising rates.

Sociocultural context

Journalism is viewed with widespread suspicion in society. By contrast, citizens are quick to believe bloggers or anonymous posts on social networks. When journalists’ handling of an issue is unpopular, they are commonly accused of corruption. Hindrances to reporters’ work are frequently due to ignorance of the law. Security agents from the government and private companies don’t hesitate to use force against reporters.


Some media are subjected to cyberattacks while journalists are often victims of threats and targeted attacks in connection with their work, especially on social media. At the regional level, threats often come from people cited in the articles. Journalists who do not toe the government line risk detention. Some of them are targets of electronic espionage, as the Pegasus Project revealed.