Freedom of Expression - Recent major event as to service limitations in Kazakhstan, early February 2014

TeliaSonera in December 2013 adopted a Group Policy on Freedom of Expression in Telecommunications, available here. According to our Policy we will, whenever and as soon as possible, report on our efforts in relation to requests or demands with potentially serious impacts on freedom of expression in telecommunications.

Government's requests or demands often serve legitimate purposes such as the protection of certain human rights, but they may also be problematic in that they could conflict with other human rights. TeliaSonera's commitment is to respect freedom of expression in telecommunications.

In Kazakhstan, from February 5th to February 12th 2015, Kcell had to restrict the rendering of mobile communications services in a number of districts at South Kazakhstan oblast. These restrictions were introduced in response to the requirements of Art. 41-1 of the Law ‘On Communications’ of the Republic of Kazakhstan N 567-II. Since February 12, 2015, all services are available for Kcell subscribers in their entirety.

During the shut-down, Kcell’s call center, in response to incoming calls, informed their customers as follows “Kcell has limited the rendering of mobile internet services in Shymkent and Saryagash due to reasons beyond our control. We will inform you once the connection has been restored”.  Kcell, in the same way, informed customers when the services had been restored.

TeliaSonera has worked since February 5 on getting this news-item published. 

The Policy of TeliaSonera is not to engage in the politics of the countries in which we operate. We do not comment on politics or make political statements when representing our company. However, TeliaSonera does engage in dialogue regarding requests from authorities that affect our business and customers of companies in which we have ownership interests.

TeliaSonera, as one of the ten principles in our Group Policy, has publicly committed to comply with requests or demands relating to the surveillance of communications only to the extent required by law, including formal requirements. TeliaSonera will continue to promote this view, also when in dialogue with Governments and authorities as to major service limitations.