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Article

6 Jan 2022

Author:
Aliide Naylor,
Author:
Gizmodo

Kazakhstan: Internet shut down, access to social media blocked as government seeks to limit information on protests

What Really Happened During Kazakhstan’s Internet Blackout? 6 January 2022

As protests erupted across the massive Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the government resorted to extreme measures, enforcing a wide-scale internet blackout lasting at least eight hours, blocking news and social media access in the former Soviet state. Eventually, scenes of chaos and burnt vehicles made their way onto news wires. As of Thursday, internet access in Kazakhstan remains patchy...

The internet outage severed communication with and within Kazakhstan. Disruptions continue to obscure the situation on the ground with sparse reports and photos leaking through the barrier. Internet service was cut again in the early hours of Thursday morning, according to cybersecurity watchdog Netblocks...

“Authorities are sparing no effort to control information about the protests and limit media coverage,” said Reporters Without Borders (RSF)’s Jeanne Cavelier in a statement published Thursday...

As the country slowly comes back online, information remains scattered...

“This is a country that is super digitally connected,” [Diana T. Kudaibergenova, lecturer at Cambridge University] said. “People are dependent on the internet for information because they know that a lot of information that they see in state media is partial, and they want to know more. Because of the blockage and because of this information, we probably will not know the full truth for some time.” ...

“It has long been the policy of the Kazakh government to block the internet at the site of street protests, to prevent protesters from mobilizing and to prevent both protesters and journalists from sharing information about what is happening,” Joanna Lillis, Almaty-based journalist and author of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan told Gizmodo...

Though internet access was partially restored Thursday, it appeared that Telegram specifically remained difficult to access...

[Note: Kcell, Beeline, Tele2 and Kaz Telecom were among the telecommunication companies affected, according to Netblocks]

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