Online news publisher Respublika asked a federal judge in New York to clarify that officials in Kazakhstan can’t use a U.S. court order in a battle over leaked emails to censor news stories that are critical of the Kazakhstan government. EFF is representing Respublika, a longtime target of Kazakhstan intimidation and persecution because of its investigative reporting on President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s regime.
The case began in March, when Kazakhstan sued dozens of unnamed individuals in a New York district court for allegedly breaking into government computers and stealing thousands of messages sent from Gmail accounts. The judge in the case issued a preliminary injunction, forbidding these unnamed individuals from disseminating, using, or viewing the material.
Respublika, like many news outlets around the world, reported on the emails after others had posted them publicly. But Kazakhstan government attorneys have since sent multiple letters to the newspaper’s web host, demanding the removal of dozens of articles. Then, Kazakhstan went further, claiming that the court order required that Respublika’s entire site be disabled. EFF has asked the judge to put a stop to Kazakhstan’s use of the court’s ruling as a tool in a censorship campaign.