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Astana hosts 6th Forum of European and Asian Media

22. November 2011. | 08:51

Source: Voice of Russia

More than 250 chief editors and reporters of different media, politicians and bloggers from more than 15 countries of Europe and Asia are taking part in the forum.

The Sixth Forum of European and Asian Media (FEAM), sponsored by Russian RIA Novosti media holding, has opened in the Kazakh capital of Astana on Monday under the theme “Twenty years of independence: media and society.”

More than 250 chief editors and reporters of different media, politicians and bloggers from more than 15 countries of Europe and Asia are taking part in the forum.

Over the years FEAM has become an unprecedented venue on the territory of post-Soviet countries for the discussions on most important and pressing issues. It is not by accident that Astana hosts the current forum. Firstly, Kazakhstan is regarded as the central state of Eurasia.

Secondly, this year the republic marks 20 years of its independence. The anniversary is a good occasion to analyze how the relations between society and mass-media had changed since the break up of the USSR.

Among the main issues on the current forum’s agenda are the questions how international and interethnic conflicts should be covered in mass media and what skills reporters need to do it in the most objective way. It happens quite often that an incorrect and biased presentation of an event by a reporter leads to seriously complications in inter-state and interethnic relations.

Olga Romanova, a professor with the Russian Higher School of Journalism, is confident that the main thing for the reporter and the reader is not to become victims of steady stereotypes:

"It is important to explain the reasons behind conflicts, for example, the conflict in Nagorny Karabach or conflicts in bordering regions between the people of different ethnicities. Today we all know about the conflict between Russia and Tajikistan on the highest level. The deportation of 300 Tajik citizens from Russia and the fate of pilots sentenced to 8.5 years in prison in Dushanbe only because their plane had run out of fuel and they had to make an emergency landing in Tajikistan, all this shows that something is wrong in our relations. At the same time it is unlikely that the conflict reflects Russians’ distrust of Tajik guest workers."

Today reporters need to do additional training to obtain skills and knowledge necessary for their work. A course in political science or even lessons of psychology would be very helpful. The knowledge of psychological laws would enable them to cope with emotions in stress situations and to be more objective, the head of the center of extreme journalism Olga Kravtsova says:

"During my training sessions in our center I show reporters elementary exercises which show that we all see any situation only from one side. It is only if we learn about different points of view on the subject our vision gains perspective. For example my American colleague told me that in order to get the objective view of the situation during the Russian Georgian conflict of 2008 he had read and listened to not only Russian and American media but also consulted Italian and German sources. What we need is pluralism and tolerance to other people’s point of view and the knowledge of psychology."

Today the mass-media on the territory of the Post-Soviet states are carrying responsibility not only for the revision of the common history but for understanding of the ups and downs which unite our countries today.


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21. November - 27. November 2011.