Delegates debate global media issues
Over 450 journalists from 40 countries gathered in Astana on October 11 for the opening of the 10th Eurasian Media Forum.
The Forum was established in 2011 to promote cooperation between East and West and this annual meeting provided an opportunity for leading journalists, politicians, opinion leaders and media experts to debate world events and analyze their coverage by global media.
Among the many renowned speakers and experts attending the two-day Forum were the Director General and Editor-in-Chief of Russia’s NIG Publishing group,Vitaly Tretyakov, the Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Tatiana Valovaya, and the Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia, Geidar Jemal, and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, Robert Hunter.
Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov conveyed the welcome of President Nazarbayev, who said that the Eurasian Media Forum has become an important platform for a global dialogue and exchange of opinions on the most important issues of the international agenda.
Among the topics debated at this year’s Forum were: the “Arab Spring” and its aftermath; economic, political and social crisis in the Eurozone; double standards in the international media; and the "Wikileaks" phenomenon in view of the growing role of Internet technologies in the development of political processes.
Chair of the Forum’s organizing committee, Dariga Nazarbayeva, emphasized the need to raise the standards demanded of the modern media. Themes such as justice, morals and true values are as important as those relating to economic issues and should occupy the same amount of media space, she said.
In a session on terrorism, President of the International Peace Institute and Norwegian diplomat Terje Rød-Larsen expressed the view that so-called “soft measures” such as education and awareness-raising through the media should be a key focus in the effort to combat terrorism. Mr Rød-Larsen described the interfaith dialogue initiated by President Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan as one of the most important instruments in operation today to ensure tolerance and respect for various values and religions around the world.
Discussing recent events in the Arab world, Geidar Jemal said: “I would immediately challenge the term “Arab Spring” since this comes from the West. In fact, the term used in the region is “Islamic Awakening”. I mean that for many decades political Islam fought the national-socialism of Gaddafi and Mubarak…. Arab national-socialism is an instrument of struggle with the aristocratic establishment.”
The well-known Russian journalist, Maksim Shevchenko, described the Forum as proof of the “fundamental role of Kazakhstan as an intellectual political center”. There is no platform anywhere on post-Soviet territory like the Eurasian Media Forum and no discussion on this level, he said.