Best Practice Sharing Conference on Public Service Broadcasting Models was held in Kyrgyzstan

During May 22-23, Internews Network together with OTRK and OSCE Bureau on media freedom in Kyrgyzstan had Best Practice Sharing Conference on Public Service Broadcasting Models.

The Conference was attended by experts and media representatives from Central Asia and Europe. The key speakers and Conference participants were Natalya Nikitenko, (member of the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Jogorku Kenesh of the KR), Almazbek Usenov, (Head of Department on Information Policy of the KR President’s Administration), Andres Joesaar, (Estonian Public Broadcasting Company), Ainura Temirbekova, (Deputy Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of the KR), Kubat Otorbaev, (Director General of OTRK of the KR), Dunja Mijatovic, (OSCE Representative on Media Freedom Affairs ), Mark Walsh, (Deputy Regional Director of Internews in Central Asia), John S. MacGregor, (Acting Head of OSCE Center in Bishkek), Ilim Karypbekov (Chairman of the OTRK Advisory Board) and others.

During the conference examples of public broadcasters of European and Central Asian countries, and influence of media freedom on development of democracy in Kyrgyzstan were discussed.

During the first day of the Conference three main components of the successful work of the public broadcaster: financing, content and management were discussed.

Andres Joesaar from Estonian Public Broadcasting Corporation told about work of Estonian TV and noted small demand on TV programs in Estonia.

“Digital Terrestrial Television Platform in 2014 doesn’t have high demand, only 10% of the Estonian population receives television signal through digital terrestrial TV. 90% of population is receiving television through cable networks and IPTV. With 18% of share of viewing has Estonian TV strong positions in the market. State financing of the Estonian TV in the 1990s was 60%, and income from advertisements was 40%, since 2001 sales of advertising on ETV was prohibited and PSB is fully funded from state budget. Today the state allocates 29 mln. euros for the work of the public channel”, — informed Andres Joesaar.

Talking about content of Estonian TV channel Mr. Joesaar noted that

“According to the law more than 50% of the programs must be Estonian. Television is on air are round-the-clock, night time is filled with text-TV type information from the internet portal, which works 24.7.”

As per Director General of OTRK Kubat Otorbaev, financing is the major problem of OTRK quality improvement. He noted that financing of OTRK is decreasing each year.

“For transition to qualitative broadcasting, till today we did not receive any financial support”, — informed Kubat Otorbaev.

Chairman of the OTRK Advisory Board Ilim Karypbekov told about role and functions of Advisory Board and responsibility of the Advisory Board for content.

“As of today we have legislative base, OTRK Advisory Board. It has control function of OTRK work; responsibility for content is on Advisory Board of the state channel. Reality for today is that there is pressure, attempts to influence on OTRK work from the government and it is absolutely normal. We have open negotiations with deputies of JKKR, representatives of President’s Administration, they tell us their opinion on what the state channel should be,” – informed Ilim Karypbekov.

OSCE representative on media freedom Dunja Mijatovic said that

“Public service broadcasting plays a very important role for any democracy”. It has useful influence on citizens and democracy of the state. Broadcasting of the democratic state must be objective and authentic source of information”.

During the second day of the conference there were issues about content and program production, editorial independence, requirements to programs and interaction with publicity.

Discussions were attended by Angela Sirbu (Member of Center of independent journalistic Board, former Director of Moldovan Public TV Moldova-1), Tamara Valieva (Editorial Adviser of OTRK of the KR), Elena Voronina, (Independent Media Trainer, Kyrgyzstan), Elena Skochilo (Program Manager of Internews-Kyrgyzstan), Naranjargal Khaskhuu (Globe International Center NGO, Mongolia) and others.

Elena Voronina noted achievements of public broadcaster of Kyrgyzstan.

“Today OTRK has mature communication channels on interaction with citizens and has own feedback methods. And the good thing is ability to react on citizens’ opinion – consumers of OTRK information. This is the first thing that catches eyes. The second thing to note is that OTRK tries to create the grid of a broadcasting this way, a content, the programs in a range and proportions which repeat a poll of our society. It is hard to do, but it is being done. And the third — OTRK adopts in separate places experience of the colleagues from the Lithuanian and Georgian public broadcasting. For example, OTRK management. The majority of strategic documents on development of the channel are based on the principles of the international journalism and a public broadcasting. Existence of institute of the Editorial Adviser (Ombudsman) also came from the Lithuanian experience. Therefore I surely can tell that today OTRK, despite very early age, already starts “to lead”. And it is just the main thing in a public broadcasting”.

Photo gallery: Participants of the Conference during the tour in OTRK studio.

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