Kazakhstan hosts Central Asian Forum on Internet Development


ALMATY (TCA) — The OSCE-supported Ninth Annual Central Asian Forum on Internet Development began on May 17 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

The event’s focus is “Media, State, Society: Digital Security and Media Literacy”. Some 120 government officials, representatives from civil society, media-related NGOs, professional associations, experts, lawyers and journalists from Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan as well as Aidar Botagarov, an Adviser from the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media are taking part in the two-day event.

Participants are discussing the influence of the Internet on digital safety, protection of personal data; freedom of expression in Central Asia; promotion of media literacy as the most effective instrument for counteracting fake news; xenophobia and hate speech as well as the role of the state in the regulation of the media sphere.

The OSCE Programme Office in Astana organized the event in co-operation with the International Centre for Journalism MediaNet and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kazakhstan.

“Contemporary security challenges and problems in cyberspace require increased accountability from not only journalists for providing accurate and unbiased information but every single person,” said the Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, György Szabó. “Media literacy becomes an inalienable part of a thoughtful and active role in society.”

Bekzat Rakhimov, Deputy Head of the State Media Policy Committee of the Communication and Information Ministry of Kazakhstan, added that the state has to take a proactive role in regulating the media sphere. However, the role of the state in the media sphere will decrease proportionally to enhanced self-regulation processes.

The forum is part of the Office’s work to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Kazakhstan and the Central Asia region.

Sergey Kwan