A regional workshop «Media and good governance» in Central Asia
To discuss the connections between the press and political power to journalists from Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, is the challenge journalist Philippe Rochot has accepted to take up for CFI.
This former correspondent for France 2 in the Middle East and Asia went back to the region from 31st October to 11th November 2011, to host two training sessions for journalists in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Douchambé (Tajikistan). These «Media and good governance» workshops were organised by CFI in partnership with AIBD (Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting and Development) and UNESCO´s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC).
3 questions to Philippe Rochot, journalist, CFI expert
1. What are your reasons for accepting this first mission for CFI?
I really like to transmit to others what I have learned in my trade. It is always interesting to meet colleagues in other countries of the world to see how they react faced with events. I realised that we use the same themes, even though we treat them quite differently. Also, I am very drawn towards Asia and the Middle East. I had never been to Tajikistan, but it is a Country on the border with Afghanistan which I know well.
2. What was your approach to the «Media and good governance» theme through this training session?
Right from the start, I explained to the journalists the notion of good governance by situating it in the general interest and progress of society. As a French journalist, I explained to them how the media functions in our countries, that of Human Rights, even though there are occasional deviations. I used the support of concrete examples, investigative reports. They all seemed to appreciate this type of journalism and were ready to commit themselves. They did not have difficulties in finding topics for this theme, such as market child labour, Afghan refugees or drugs within the youth. At every debate I organised and with every problem that arose touching on the freedom of the media or the transparency of information, they always had lots of questions to ask, showing great interest.
3. What are the differences in the way information is dealt with in these countries?
In Kazakhstan and in Tajikistan, the concept of the work of the press remains very official and traced on the directives of the government. This does not pose ethical problems for the journalists to be paid for shooting a topic about a company because they do not have much money to finance their reports. But this also compromises their independence. For them, the freedom of the press is linked to financial issues and it remains for them to find a correct balance. Their approach to an event is very different because they increasingly head in the direction of power. In Kazakhstan, the national television is a State television, which only a few years ago belonged to the daughter of the president Nazarbaiev and the television news still always starts with the activities of the head of State!
Despite everything, the journalists showed much interest in our way of apprehending information and wished to better define the relationship between media and good governance. Throughout this training session, I found a real wish to learn and evolve.