June 28 is Media Workers’ Day in Kazakhstan. This holiday is dedicated to the adoption of the Law On the Press and Other Mass Media in 1991. We would like to congratulate all colleagues-journalists and media workers on their professional holiday and wish them to reach the heights and strive to create a developed civil society through the power of words.
The origin of the mass media in Kazakhstan.
Journalism and mass media development in Kazakhstan is considered to have taken its root since 1870, the time when the first Russian-language newspaper Turkestanskie vedomosti, which covered the economic, cultural and political life in Russia and Turkestan region, appeared in the vast steppe of Kazakh lands. The Kazakh-language newspaper supplement to Turkestanskie vedomosti was published under the title Gazeta Turkestanskogo kraya in the same year, and it was later renamed Gazeta Stepnogo kraya.
The publication of printed editions such as the Serke newspaper in 1907, the Aikap magazine in 1911, and the Kazakh newspaper in 1913 lead to a sharp rise of journalism and media development in the early 20th century. Unlike previous editions, the latter newspapers illustrated issues of ordinary citizens, as well as published scientific achievements and research papers of prominent scientists.
Special attention should be paid to the newspaper Kazakh, whose publishers actively fought for the restoration of the nation’s ethnic name.
Media during Soviet times.
The establishment of Soviet power cut the number of independent publications. At that time, journalism in the KazSSR was controlled by the authorities, freedom of speech was suppressed, and dissent was punished. Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, Leninskaya Smena, and Socialistik Kazakhstan were the most common newspaper editions amongst a myriad of social and political newspapers. Later, city and regional newspapers appeared in print covering the life of the population of a particular region. An example of such newspapers was Ogni Alatau, Vechernyaya Alma-Ata and many others.
During the wartime, most of the press acquired characteristic features of propaganda. The media played a particularly important role in the social and political life of the Soviet Union. Leaflets and front-line newspapers became the main media component on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, and such press instilled the spirit of patriotism in the citizens and inspired hatred towards the enemy. One of such newspapers was Otan Ushin, which became the printed publication of the 8th Guards Panfilov Division.
In the post-war period, journalism continued to develop rapidly. In 1959, a new mobile TV station was launched at one of the television studios in Almaty. The latest news actively featured achievements in all areas of science, culture and creative industry. In the same year, the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan was organized.
One of the important stages for Soviet Union and Kazakhstan journalism began in 1985, the period of Perestroika. Strict censorship and ideological control in media gradually passed away. Step be step, journalism began to move towards independence and freedom. From that moment on, newspapers began to criticize the authorities and publish articles about the victims of political repressions and their rehabilitation. Needless to say, the media was still under control, and not all materials really revealed the truth. This period is characterized by the growth of self-awareness of the people and their active desire for independence.
Mass media during the days of independence.
Journalism of Kazakhstan has come a long and difficult path of development. With independence, the media of Kazakhstan reached a new level. On June 28, 1991, the first law "On the Press and Other Mass Media" was adopted guaranteeing freedom of speech and diversity of opinions in the mass media.
Henceforward, the number of national and independent information publishing houses began to increase annually. According to the Information Committee of the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as of January 2023, 5,407 media outlets were registered in Kazakhstan.
Nowadays, Kazakhstani legal and regulatory framework is undergoing the process of development, including a discussion of a new law "On Mass Media", which should outline modern trends in the field of journalism and mass communications. The law will be based on the essential principles of media work, including freedom of speech, reliability and objectivity.
Relevance of the media at the present time.
One could hardly imagine modern life without media. The prompt and professional work of reporters allows everyone timely to receive up-to-date information, and learn the news from Internet sources, television, radio, newspapers and magazines.
In 2023, on the eve of the Media Worker’s Day, the President of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokaev ordered to reward 65 media workers with certificates for new apartments. Such steps from the Head of state show the importance of the journalist’s work at the present time. In the message “New Kazakhstan: the path of renewal and modernization”, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized that journalists should sincerely worry about their country and citizens. That became as parting words for those who want to connect their lives with this creative profession.
In turn, we would like to congratulate all colleagues-journalists and media workers on their professional holiday and wish them to reach the heights and strive to create a developed civil society through the power of words.
Information prepared by Darya Molotovskaya