State Department to Kazakhstan: Be nice to Borat

WASHINGTON (AP) - Borat, that crass chronicler of the American condition, has been singled out by the State Department as a victim of suppression in his own homeland.

The department's annual human rights report criticizes Kazakhstan for taking action against the satirical Web site of Sacha Baron Cohen, creator of the fictional Kazakh journalist in the film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Baron Cohen also starred in the movie.

Specifically, the government took control of the registration of .kz Internet domains in 2005 and revoked Baron Cohen's domain because it deemed his site offensive, the report said.

The State Department cited independent Web media reports that the government of the former Soviet state in central Asia monitored e-mail and Internet activity, blocked or slowed access to opposition Web sites and planted propaganda in Internet chat rooms.

"The government limited individuals' ability to criticize the country's leadership, and regional leaders attempted to limit local media outlets' criticism of them," said the report, which was released Tuesday.

The movie depicting Borat's pseudo-documentary wanderings across the U.S. became an unlikely hit and earned Baron Cohen a Golden Globe acting award. It also generated complaints that Baron Cohen duped his American subjects into making racist and sexist remarks and portrayed Kazakhs in a similarly unflattering light.

Borat, for example, asserted that Kazakhs are addicted to horse urine, enjoy shooting dogs, view rape and incest as respectable hobbies and are fond of "running of the Jew" festivals. Baron Cohen is a British comedian and observant Jew.