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Kazakhstan churches banned from publicising Pope's visit

While churches and religious communities in Kazakhstan are preparing for the Holy Father's visit later this month, local authorities have refused churches permission to erect billboards publicising the event.

Independent Catholic News (ICN) reports that there is little official information on the visit from the government, and the media is giving scant attention to preparations for the visit.

ICN's source, Sr Magdalena from the Catholic Media Office of the country's Karaganda Diocese, said: "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," she continued. "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."

Visit Of John Paul II to Kazakhstan 22-25.09.2001 (Fides)