Spring Will Show…
text: Sergey Volkov , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
Although this week media people were actively discussing the results of first national Congress of journalists, and all regular men were hanging over from 3-day celebrations of international day of spring and love to women, other everyday problems remained at large. "Ladies' day" was not impeccable, either. For unfortunately we too often forget about what we celebrated and toasted for. Which is exactly the case with 8 March celebrations.
1st Congress of Kazakhstani journalists was awaited by many. In different ways. Some were on cloud 9 - "let the "father" judge them all". Some were saying - "now it's time I told the truth!" Some were awaiting the Congress to tell the colleagues they were no pen sharks, but rather rotation machine coyotes. Many expectations, at any rate.
Unfortunately editors of many media resources did not dare to write objectively about the Congress even for the common cause. TV channels and newspapers cut the content and were sewing reports only to please Her Majesty "Editorial Policy". Or rather their own shareholders.
Why did he leave?
First striking thing at the Congress was absence of premier. Prior to the Congress he went on his first working tour of the country. Not a day before, not a day after.
While journalists were trying to prove in Astana how nice, and at the same time tough they were, cabinet leader was peacefully talking to his Uzbek counterpart at Shymkent. Problem of a tiny share of non-delimited Kazakh-Uzbek frontier turned for Imangali Tasmagambetov more important than first official gathering of country's journalists.
There are at least two explanations to this absence. Firstly, president did not want to allow criticism of executive power to focus on the new cabinet leader. This would happen --should Tasmagambetov attend the Congress. His absence helped to disperse criticism among separate ministers. Now they have to answer. That is why the head of state sent the premier away from the capital.
Secondly, premier might not wanted to take part in a purely ideological event. Careful disliking of practical politics already helped Tasmagambetov to win current position. So why should he rid of this useful habit? So premier talked president into letting him leave Astana for the time of the Congress.
President spoke tough at Congress. They say his speechwriters nearly fainted during his address as the head of state too often "distracted" from the text they'd prepared. However, after pestering and sometimes even scolding at national media, Nursultan Nazarbayev, as an experienced politician, made a constructive proposal.
Unfortunately, many a Congress delegate missed president's constructive proposal. Journalists are no politicians - so they used the summit stage for tearful begs to the head of state, powerful threatening each other, as well as authorities. That reminded very much of the first day of USSR people's deputies Congress back in 1989. It could have been a good idea to hold a couple of organizing sessions with mass media representatives prior to the Congress. To determine the ambiance and framework for the dialogue. The only thing one new before the Congress was that it would convene at Astana, and all reporters would get a traditional bottle of vodka. That's where ambience at the Congress originated from, that's why there was practically no dialogue. No dialogue between resources owned by competing oligarchs, between media and authorities, and finally between the public and mass media serving its information needs. A storm in a glass of water.
As far as I know, head of Almaty city TAN TV channel, addressed the Congress three times. This young man, educated psychologist, lately has been very thoroughly calculating his public maneuvers. He probably thought - now or never. In Astana he used his speeches to officially mold himself as opposition media-manager. Certainly, he is no Russian Kiselyov. But he did manage to step forward at the Congress.
Why? - you'd ask. Because nothing lasts forever under these skies. TV channel leaders' friendship with oligarchs in exile does not last forever, either. However, an image of a TV businessman chased by authorities could save him from many everyday problems. Especially taking into account how Western public organizations fancy "democratically oriented" mass media these days.
But what will TAN journalists do in these circumstances. Did the young channel leader ever think about that? And isn't it a shame to build a career of a leader of Kazakhstani journalism on "bodies" of his own employees?
Now we can vote. Wish we had some food…
Our independent media have not advanced too far in the so-called "female issue". Although every newspaper and moreover TV channel employ at least 70-80% women, media coverage of ladies' issues and problems is limited to some 20-30% only. It's not even that men head most media resources, it's just that we are too used to a notion - "a woman would not cope with serious job, let her deliver, raise kids, and at best work as a bank teller, she just can't do more".
Equality between men and women has been an issue for ages, it seems. But when in 19th century "weak sex" became organized in struggle for its rights, it has immediately become a political issue. The most famous campaign was under a slogan "Give women a right to vote!" For those who fail to recall the case, I'll remind that a century and a half ago women did not have a right to vote at elections. To say nothing of the rest.
This is in the archives now, certainly. Furthermore, every politician these days knows that women represent a major share of electorate. That is why PR experts specifically develop technologies for the female electorate.
As for feminist practice locally, one might state that women enjoy far better position here in Kazakhstan than, say, in Arabic countries, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan. And far worse than in Europe or the US.
How come? Lots and lots of things - household, public, and state ones. Although the state VERBALLY stands for sexual equality in our country…
6 years after
Let me return to female issue. Frankly speaking, I agree that many a woman in this country just has to be a feminist. Look - woman earns 25% less than a man here, should something happen at a plant or an office women are the first to get fired, and as for the social laws adopted a decade ago, they rid our females of any state support. Mind you, 6 years ago Kazakhstan ratified a pack of international agreements to stop discrimination of women.
Should you be interested, I'll name them. These are UN conventions "On political rights of women", "On citizenship of a married woman", "On liquidation of all forms of women discrimination", "On rights of a child", as well as 6 conventions of International Labor Organization.
What about a cornerstone issue?
Back in September 1998 RK president Nursultan Nazarbayev in his annual address to the nation talked about restructuring national political system to make it conform to democracy principles. 7 principles were listed. First measure was to strengthen role of political parties in country's life. Seventh and last was to change attitude to women by raising their quota in all branches of power.
Three years went past… Now one might state that political parties have indeed become stronger, while the opposite happened to changing attitude to women. Nowadays we have three ladies in cabinet, and 10 in parliament. As for parties… And every day yet another political movement headed by men emerges here. As for equality between women and men, it stays on paper…
That's a funny name of a TV show I spotted on an American channel. Alec Baldwin (remember a cool movie, where he starred opposite his future wife Kim Basinger?) stormed a wave of criticism upon US government. He recalled all those strange things about the war in Afghanistan, criticized Bush administration's personnel policy, as well as a number of economic decisions. Hollywood mega-star did not have any mercy even for US president's brother, currently governor of a state. Anyway, he was so-o sarcastic…
How come TV channel gives stage to an actor to criticize the president's administration? Answer is simple - Alec is Bill Clinton's closest buddy. And Clinton still plays a major role in US Democratic Party, eternal rival of American Republicans. On the other hand partial elections to US congress shall take place in 2002. In another year-and-a-half a new presidential race begins in the US.
I should say Alec looked good on TV as a critic of existing administration. Good-looking man with a strong chin, looking spectators in the eye. Made in Hollywood, right?
Might he run for president from Democrats? Why not. Americans did elect Ronald Reagan in 1980, and he was worse an actor than Alec Baldwin is…
Phrase of the week
My 8-year old son once saw that snow melted outside, looked philosophically at water dripping from roofs, and said - Yeah, spring will show who shitted where…
Clearly he read it in a comics or wherever. But he hit the bull's eye. I'd imagine what he'd say if he knew a thing or two about politics…
Also in the "In Depth"
09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan