Scandal on Khabar TV Raises Discussions About Domestic Violence in Kazakhstan

Still from Khabar TV

A scandal which erupted on Kazakhstan’s state television channel, Khabar, has caused huge public outrage. At the center of events was a woman named Gulmira, who had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband. Her story became the subject of discussion on the talk show, Birak, which is dedicated to family relations.

On Khabar, Gulmira spoke about the eighteen years of beatings and violence she had suffered in her marriage. She ran away from her hard drinking husband with her six children, but he found her in Astana, and arranged another humiliation, with the talk show hosts secretly and without any warning bringing her husband to the studio, which caused Gulmira to break down live on air. The shows hosts even tried to reconcile the spouses, which only served to aggravate the already extremely strained situation.

On social networks, the public actively discussed the abhorrent behavior of the presenters and espoused their support for Gulmira. Videos were created which commented on the show, and many media outlets spoke out in defense of the woman, emphasizing the fact that such things should not be staged on national television.

As a result of the wave of indignation, the state television channel Khabar decided to stop airing the talk show Birak. The Minister of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan, Aida Balayeva, promised to shut down the talk show, stating that the problem of family violence requires serious attention.

This event took place against the background of huge public attention on the trial of former Minister of the National Economy, Kuandyk Bishembayev, who is accused of murdering his wife. In such an environment, any justification for the actions of an aggressor on state TV was deemed hugely inappropriate and only served to highlight the issue of domestic violence.