Modern media in Kazakhstan: experience, problems, perspective
Akhmetova L.S., doctor of historical sciences Politic sciences professor Of Kazakh National University named after al-Farabi, Kazakhstan
The history of receiving and passing information is long, since there was human and since human began to talk. Between oral information and modern media there are thousands of years. What was then? Rumors, tails, stories, songs, poems, recitatives, myths and legends. "Uzun Kulak” existed in the Great Steppe for centuries and was used as an instrument to pass information. What is "uzun kulak”? In translation it means – the long ear. These are news which where passed in the steppe. XIX was the century of printed press media in Kazakhstan. XX century created new, progressive media. Firstly radio, then – television. 80ies gave us Internet. Then, the first decade of XXI century defined new media, which we began to take seriously after the Arab spring in 2011. For the first time the world saw what can Internet do. Everybody understood the inevitability of our common past, present and future, although some wanted to divide themselves. Oral speech existed for thousands of years. For one century printed press prevailed, for almost half of century sound information – radio – prevailed, then television and at last – modern media. This is a small guide to our history. Countries and histories of development differ, of course. Nevertheless, everywhere, almost at the same time we cane to new, modern media. This is a fact. It doesn’t matter when and how long we had printed information. Today new media is everywhere, in the West, in the East, in the Old and New worlds. We master new media. We care and we gain new knowledge. We all are dilatants in this. We study. There are no teachers. We go together, we talk, we make mistakes together and move to common opinion. New media unite us. This is what we need to understand and accept. We need to move forward and solve problems on each level, to propose, to harmonize, to approve international standards and to move forward again. I use Internet since 90ies. Life made me to master it. I wrote a doctor dissertation and I needed to print it. So I mastered computer, firstly, as a printing machine. Then I moved forward. It thrilled. In addition I am a journalist, a scientist and a teacher. I needed it all. Maybe I am an amateur. I don’t know many things, but I study constantly and I understand what I want to know. Sometimes I need to know only some technical opportunities, because I don’t have much time, meaning hypostasis: simply no time everyday and no time meaning my age. It is better to do things in which you are a professional, than to study those things where Internet professionals can help me. This is my credo. I am never ashamed of asking things which I don’t know. I like studying. Sometimes I am being taught by my students and they do it with pleasure! I often use social networks like "My World”, Twitter, Facebook, Netlog, Vkrugudruzey, Mirtesen, Vkontakte and "Odnoklassniki. I also use Skype. It takes a lot of time. But as a teacher, journalist, scientist and social worker, as a writer, I think that it is useful to be interested in everything, especially – Internet. This is some information about me. I think many people passed the same way. One of my mottos is: to study and to teach. Let’s talk about Kazakhstan reality and new media in our world. No doubt that Internet is difficult to distinguish in different countries, but still there are some features. What are they? First of all, leading universities of Kazakhstan began to master Internet (I remember a computer in Kazakh National University in 80ies which was as large as a room where it took place). The end of 90ies was a time of youth and leaders of social organizations. Then everybody began to master Internet no matter who they where. Almost together with all international society we entered Internet. We have an electronic government; many problems can be solved using Internet. I can freely ask questions to different ministries using their blogs and they answer in maximum 15 days. We know almost all activities of the prime minister, deputies and everything what happens in Kazakhstan and all over the world through social networks. Today I know everything what I need to know without watching TV or radio. Meaning that I know how almost all people live. In 2011 I heard information about terrorists in Taraz (Zhambyl oblast, Kazakhstan) when I was in the bazaar, then I opened Facebook using my Iphone and accepted all the news from the general Prosecutor’s office. Quickly, accurately and clear. 16th of December 2011 in 18.00, I was waiting for my flight from Astana to Almaty in the airport and opened Twitter. It didn’t launch, so I tries Facebook and saw horrible news from Zhanaozen. Within an hour my concerned friends from Russia began to call me and I told them that I know as much information as they do from social networks and that Almaty is almost as far from Zhanaozen as Moscow is. But we had the same information from social networks, the information of new media. Thanks to information that I gained from new media, 17th of December I made a phone call to Khabar Channel and said that I would like to make some comments concerning Zhanaozen events. I was one of the first. In three days I made comments from different points of view: as a conflict professional, as a trade union worker, as a scientist, as a social worker and political scientist. I want to mention that in this period in Kazakhstan there were holidays, thus printed media didn’t come out. I expressed my opinion as a citizen and as a patriot of my country. My first words were condolences to the families of the deceased people. There should be no such events. It was the most important thing to me. It was our common tragedy. Almost everybody read materials from Internet in those days. Everybody knew that no one can be "strangled or killed” here. If one channel will be closed, there will arise another one. There was so much comments and councils to avoid some information or pages. There where a lot of informational newsletters. It was obvious that all channels can not be stopped and closed. Everybody gave information in the networks, whether it was positive or negative, what they saw or what they taped. The fact that nothing can be hided became obvious. Many people were not ready to the truth of life. However some people where affected by the gossips and speculations, increasing things that really happened or inventing new events that didn’t take place in the reality. We saw two sides of the coin and still are trying to overcome the consequences of those events. Today people have information that they want to have or that they can find using their competence and knowledge. So I don’t believe people who say that there is no access to information. Those who really search will surely find it. In the new media you are your own editor and writer. It is possible to create a group and to talk about yourself, about children, family or what are you bothered of. Also it is possible to share experience and to create a group of conformers in professional field as we did. We called our group in Facebook: Media and Information Literacy (MIL). Within the first month 75 people entered our group, mostly representatives of Kazakhstan and Russia. As a partner of UNESCO office in Kazakhstan our team tries to set international standards in journalists’ education. Our website - http://www.modelcurricula.org is devoted to these questions. We put there10 programs in Russian language and 6 in Kazakh language. These programs passed an expertise of international standards of journalists’ education. Afterwards we collected the database of professors and experts in mass media including new media, who work together and advance new resources in Kazakhstan. Within 2011 we prepared a material called "Increasing professional potential and support institutions of freedom of speech, pluralism and diversity (Kazakhstan situation evaluation on 30th of October 2011)”, which was proposed by UNESCO on Russian and Kazakh languages. In 2011 our creative team of journalists who work as a volunteers in UNESCO chair in Kazakh National University conducted one of the first training sessions devoted to new media on Kazakh and Russian languages. In summer 2011 I participated on extra meeting devoted to human development with the topic "Advancing pluralism in new media” in Wien, Austia. I made a presentation called "Advancing new media in Kazakhstan”. In September 2011 we actively participated on the Meeting of Human Dimension 2011 – OCSE in Warsaw, Poland. In the beginning of 2012 we got a tender of the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan called "Development of media education technologies and formation of intellectual potential of the country”. This project will last for three years 2012-2015. Out creative team has already started the work. The connected materials will be posted on the Kazakh school of socially responsible journalism website - http://unesco-kaznu.ucoz.kz/. In October 2012, as a partners of National Commission of UNESCO and ISESCO in Kazakhstan, we are going to conduct an international conference "Almaty+20” devoted to 20th anniversary of Almaty Declaration of the Support of independent and pluralistic media in Asia. In shal be mentioned that since 2011 some non-governmental organizations provide lectures on working with new media, teaching social leaders, professors of universities, students and civil servants. The grants were received from international organizations, particularly from USA Embassy in Kazakhstan, Soros foundation in Kazakhstan, UNESCO and other. NGO "Institute of Media Standards” prepared more than 150 person in different regions of Kazakhstan within the grant program of USA Embassy. NGO’s
"MediaNet”, "Adil Soz”, "Internews”, Kazakhstan press club, National press club work in this field. Today more than 100 NGO’s work in the fields of media in Kazakhstan. "Informational security in the system of new media-communications”, "Research of the types of communicational influence”, "New media – new challenges of time” – these elective courses are available in journalism faculty of Kazakh National University. At the mean time we participate in the following tenders of Ministry of Education and science: "Social networks as a development of an innovational system in formation of intellectual nation”, "Media education and informational security of the society”, "Social responsibility of a journalist” for 2013-2015. No doubt that there are lots of questions and problems today in the field of new media. It is necessary to participate in the process of development and to study constantly, to be always informed, to know new technologies, to be a professional in particular sphere. But, first of all, you need to have active civil point of view and position in many modern problems. It is impossible to hide and wait as for now. The most important thing today is a word. The word in the Internet. My recommendations: 1. Collecting information on education and new media. 2. Installing international standards in new media (new game rules) 3. Training in new media through Internet conferences, mass media articles, and distributing information using new media itself 4. Creating the databases of trainers, consultants and experts in this field 5. Communications, communications, communications!!!