The event was organized by the School of Peacemaking and Media Technology of the Network of Social Mediators with the financial support of the Freedom of Information Program of Soros Foundation – Kyrgyzstan as part of the Encouraging Diversity through Media project.
About 50 representatives of authorities, media, international organizations, foreign media experts, scientists, teachers and linguists discussed the issues of sustainable development in diversity terms, authority participation, media and civil society in the establishment of national identity, the unifying role of the state language in polyethnic Kyrgyzstan.
The conference was held as discussions and six master classes dedicated to new methods of Kyrgyz language teaching, creation of multilanguage content, promotion of diversity in the media, on the internet, in cinematography and art. Invited teachers and university students of Bishkek took part in master classes and had an opportunity to improve their skills in regard to their points of interest.
Content analysis of diversity coverage in broadcasting, print and online media performed by the School of Peacemaking in September-October 2014 showed that journalists started to pay more attention to the intercultural dialog; their reports and articles became more varied in terms of ethnic representation. The journalists were found to raise often the diversity issue in the news by focusing on official and cultural events, and also to discuss the mission of the state language.
Farid Niyazov, advisor to the Kyrgyz President, speaking at the conference, noted that diversity could become the basis for sustainable development of the country due to the uniting role of the state language.
“As soon as representatives of different ethnic groups start speaking Kyrgyz, they will open doors to tremendous development of Uzbek, Korean, Dungan, Russian and other languages,” he said. “Respect to the country and state language is the best scenario for development of diversity and civil identity”.
Zurab Dvali, media expert from Georgia, where there is only one state language, but support is provided to education and media in five languages spoken by ethnic minorities, shared his experience in motivating the nationals learning the Georgian in his country. “If a young man wants to develop his career, he will need to speak the state language”, Dvali emphasized.
At master classes, the media expert presented the tools and methods of creation of multilanguage product by the example of the Georgia Public First Channel, which could be applied in Kyrgyzstan.
“I attended three presentations and was impressed the most by the Georgian experience”, Zairbek Ergeshov, expert of the department of ethnic, religious policy and interaction with the civil society of the Presidential Administration of the Kyrgyz Republic, told. “It is through languages and media that Georgia is forming the united civic nation. They also have five million nationals just like Kyrgyzstan. They are a multinational country with public TV channel, which news and programs pay attention to the languages spoken by ethnic minorities. But in our country we have TV programs in two languages only, with no captions.”
Batma Topoeva-Stavinskaya, head of the KYRGYZTEST department of the National Center at the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic, presented the new system of evaluation of knowledge of the Kyrgyz language, which will become compulsory upon graduation from high schools, admission to universities, and admission to the civil service. The participants of the master class had a chance to test their language level.
When discussing the implementation of multilinguism in Kyrgyzstan, participants of the conference indicated the lack of staff teaching Kyrgyz, the need for implementation of interactive methods into the training process for non-speakers, and the need for development of open educational online resources. Such innovative forms would make it easier for non-speakers to learn the language.
Samagan Aitymbetov, director of the CA-news.org agency, called attention of the participants to the prospects of development of Uzbek-language online content, which, according to him, is in demand not only in Kyrgyzstan, but also in other countries. According to web statistics, the Uzbek version of CA-news.org is visited by 20 thousand people every month and the number of Uzbek-speaking audience is growing fast.
“Nowadays, internet projects have no limits since language content, especially Uzbek, is in demand throughout the world, especially in terms of the situation in Uzbekistan with the increased censorship and few independent news websites,” Aitymbetov said.
A switch to digital TV in 2015 will become one of the ways to promote language diversity. According to Aizada Borubaeva, head of the office of communications and information support of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Kyrgyz Republic, TV will have an opportunity to provide the people with programs and films in several languages, including sound and captions.
“The film has stirred up a wave of interest to the national history since many people would study thoroughly the historical records before going to the theater,” Tolomusheva noted.
The positive role of art in tolerance development was emphasized by the excerpt from performance “The spring of love on Sulaiman-Too” represented by namely actors of “Tunguch” theater led by honored artist of the Kyrgyz Republic Zhamal Seidakmatova. According to her, the main point of the performance was that hostile attitude to each other resulted in tragedy.
The conference resulted in the resolution containing recommendations on diversity policy promotion given to the authorities, media and civil society.
The conference was the final stage of discussions held under the Encouraging Diversity through Media project.
The Encouraging Diversity through Media project is focused on content development, strengthening of constructive role of the media in an interethnic dialog, improvement of journalists’ professional skills covering cultural, linguistic, and ethnic diversity.
For additional information please contact Alika Karabaeva, coordinator of the Encouraging Diversity through Media project at +996312 69 40 15, +996772 21 32 57
About organization: School of Peacemaking and Media Technology is a non-profit entity, which activities support freedom of expression and access to information, development of independent and honest journalism, encourage media in crisis areas in order to strengthen stability and democracy in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.
Main programs of the School:
-training of journalists, editors and media managers;
-encouragement of public discussions and dialog;
-researches, analytical reviews, media monitoring and expert reviews;
-mentoring and media counseling;