Senate refuses to approve draft law blocking social networks

The chamber suggests dropping the idea of blocking messengers and social networks

On April 14, the Senate or upper chamber of Kazakhstan’s parliament considered a draft law on the protection of children’s rights, education, information and IT. Senators have updated the document and sent it back to Mazhilis, the lower chamber of the parliament.

According to Maulen Ashimbayev, speaker of the Senate, the chamber’s members very carefully examined the draft law and made a bunch of amendments to the draft.

“Senators have suggested that all claims of cyberbullying against a child must be reviewed by a special watchdog. A previous version of the draft law said that this kind of question falls under the jurisdiction of the authorized body only. Moreover, senators removed from the draft law an article that allowed an authorized body to limit or even postpone from work any internet resources, social networks and messengers. The Senate wants the government to cooperate with those online platforms and delete only that information which has been acknowledged by experts as cyberbullying against a child,” he said.

This approach might be more effective in pursuing a balance between the necessity to take measures if the fact of cyberbullying against children is discovered and the desire of a society to have access to information. Moreover, it meets the concept of New Kazakhstan and all the logic of political reforms, the official said.

Lyazzat Suleimen, a senator who presented the draft law said that all international standards had been taken into account during the preparation of the document. The draft law also implies changes into two codes and ten laws in order to make the protection of children’s rights more effective.

“The draft law suggests articulating specific powers of an authorized body in the sphere of media. For example, people are worrying about whether they can keep access to social networks or not. All amendments which have been added to the draft law were considered during the year by both chambers of the parliament, state agencies, public associations and other people interested in the topic. I believe that these amendments will strengthen the mechanism of protecting children’s rights within the family, education, health and IT while allowing the implementation of new initiatives by the president,” she said.

For instance, the new legislation allows local executive bodies to establish new rehabilitation centers for children with special needs not only in Nur-Sultan but also in other cities, towns and district centers based on hospitals and polyclinics. The move must be effective to cover all children who need regular medical support.

Moreover, the new law about housing requires local authorities to put an orphan in line for an apartment within a period of no longer than three months, not six as it was before.

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