Kazakhstan - churches refused permission to publicise Pope's visit

 While churches and religious communities in Kazakhstan are making great preparations for the Pope's visit - local authorities have refused churches permission to put up publicity posters. Sister Magdalena, from the Catholic Media Office of the Diocese of Karaganda, in Kazakhstan has sent this report: Several days remain before the visit of the Holy Father Pope John Paul II to Kazakhstan, the Catholic Church in all cities and villages of Kazakhstan is preparing for this historic event. Strange is the fact that there is very little information from the government side. We have prepared a couple of billboards in the larger cities regarding the visit of the Holy Father (approved by prime minister in Astana) but we can't place them because advertising agencies must have permission from city's local authorities. We have been trying to get this permission for two weeks in Karaganda and have been refused. .What is more, Kazakhstan has no laws covering public advertising. The same situation exists in Almaty and Astana. We have printed 10,000 posters and none of them can be posted publicly. The mass media give spot information on the Holy Father's visit, but nothing more.

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