Independent media outlets in Kazakhstan targeted by raid, court order

In a crackdown on independent media, authorities in Kazakhstan have raided the offices of a news website and taken steps to halt the publication of a newspaper critical of the government.

Guljan Yergaliyeva, an outspoken opposition figure and owner of the Guljan website, said police officers came to her office Thursday to take her to court over nonpayment of libel damages.

Respublika, a weekly paper that prints its editions outside Kazakhstan and has them flown to the Central Asian nation for distribution, said a court in Almaty has ordered the confiscation upon arrival of the issue set to hit the stands Friday.

Prosecutors said Wednesday they want Respublika banned for extremism and incitement to overthrowing the government.

Most media outlets in the ex-Soviet republic are either state-owned or pro-government.