ALMATY, Kazakhstan – Visits to the Web site of Kazakhstan's state news agency have almost doubled in the run-up to the premiere of a film about spoof Kazakh TV reporter Borat.
British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays the boorish and offensive Borat, set up www.boratmovie.com to promote his new film, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
Styling itself as the "Ministry of Information," Borat's page carries a prominent link to the country's real state news agency Kazinform, www.inform.kz.
According to data provided by Russian Web site traffic monitoring service Mail.ru, the number of unique visitors to Kazinform's Web site has nearly doubled to 27,000 a week in the run-up to the movie's premiere.
Kazinform marketing manager Zhanna Tapayeva told Reuters she was unaware of the link on Borat's Web site and said she had no further comment.
Borat's racist and sexist antics upset Kazakh officials fearing for the Central Asian state's image when he first came to prominence a year ago, prompting a threat of legal action and the closure of a previous Borat site, www.borat.kz.
But senior officials have since said they understand the satirical point and are hoping he might even generate interest in the real Kazakhstan. Local cinema distributors, however, have said they will not be showing the film.