MEDIA IN KAZAKHSTAN
Having emerged on the world map from the shackles of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan has started actively developing its media market. It is a remarkable achievement for a country that used to have only few media outlets, purely official, to provide access today to more than 2,000 local media resources, about 85 percent of which are non-governmental.
There are major newspapers as well as TV and radio channels providing news and entertainment in 11 languages, including German, Ukrainian, Turkish, Ukrainian etc., to reflect the great ethnic diversity in Kazakhstan. Media outlets broadcasting in ethnic languages are subject to grants and other types of financial support from the national budget. In 2002 the first Kazakh satellite channel – Caspionet – was launched and broadcasts successfully both in the country and abroad.
International media corporations such as CNN, BBC, Radio Free Europe, Deutsche Welle, Polonia and others actively broadcast their programs in Kazakhstan through local cable television companies. Over 80 foreign mass media from more than 20 countries, including the largest news agencies such as the Associated Press, Interfax, France Press, Xinhua, Reuters, ITAR-TASS, Bridge news, etc. are accredited in Kazakhstan
A liberal and democratic government information policy is the basis for these processes. The main mechanisms of the policy are:
• legal guarantees and practical insurance of the principles of freedom of speech, free receiving and spreading of information, censorship prohibition;
• continuing improvement of legal framework of mass media activity;
• annual placing of budget financed government order for implementation of the government information policy. A right to get this order is assigned through a contest among mass media bodies irrespective of their ownership. This measure allowed to create equal conditions for receiving government financial support by both government and non-government press consequently encouraging their creative activity and business initiative;
• transparent process of receiving frequencies for TV and radio broadcasting. The Commission on providing rights for radio frequency use comprises representatives of the Parliament, international and Kazakhstan public associations. Activity of the Commission is widely covered by the mass media;
• creation of economic conditions for mass media growth. All the publications and TV stations are exempted from VAT. Charges for use of radio frequency decrease almost every year;
• continuing and constructive cooperation with public associations, international organizations, media research institutes in the area of mass media development. Journalists rights associations such as the Journalists Congress of Kazakhstan, Journalists Union of Kazakhstan, Teleradiobroadcasters Association of Kazakhstan, offices of international organizations (the OSCE, Human Rights Watch, Internews network, Adil Soz, etc.) fruitfully work in Kazakhstan;
• close attention to journalists development. To this end every year the government provides grants and loans for education in this field, a TV Journalism School was established.
An important event for mass media development in Kazakhstan was the establishment of the Public Council on Mass Media (information policy). This entity unites MPs, the Chairman of the Board of the Journalists Union of Kazakhstan, President of the Tele-Radiobroadcasters Association of Kazakhstan, Editors-in-Chief and journalists of leading mass media bodies.