Kazakhstan hosts forum on Internet development in Central Asia

ALMATY (TCA) — The OSCE-supported eighth annual Central Asian Forum on Internet Development began on May 24 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Some 150 government officials, representatives from civil society, media-related non-governmental organizations, professional associations, experts, lawyers and journalists from the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan as well as a Senior Adviser from the Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media are convening for the two-day event, the OSCE Programme Office in Astana said.

The Forum participants discuss the main challenges for Internet development in what has been termed the “post-truth” era. Topics include the influence of the Internet and social networks on public perception, ways to deal with toxic narratives without threatening the principle of freedom of expression, best practices, legislative and practical instruments to counter false narratives, propaganda, xenophobia, hate speech, destructive content as well as the promotion of safety on the web.

Diana Digol, Deputy Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana said: “Only a well-functioning, open, diverse and dynamic media environment can effectively neutralize the effect of propaganda, false reports and hate speech without violating freedom of expression. We hope that concrete recommendations from our event will help journalists better identify ways to have their crucial work stand out so that the public can be better informed.”

Bekzat Rakhimov, Deputy Head of the State Media Policy Committee of the Communication and Information Ministry of Kazakhstan, said: “Our Ministry is currently undertaking a number of legislative and information initiatives aimed at increasing confidence in information disseminated through the media and the Internet, ensuring citizens’ rights in the information sphere, developing media with due regard for developing information and communication technologies and the transparency of state institutions.”

The Forum is organized by the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, in cooperation with the International Centre for Journalism MediaNet and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Kazakhstan.

Sergey Kwan