Does silence mean consent?
13/06-2011 11:21, Bishkek – 24.kg news agency , by Anton LYMAR
New authorities, came to the power on the wave of release from tyranny of the ex-president Bakiyev, are saying a lot and nicely about the prosperity that new revolution will bring to Kyrgyzstan. A year passed. The distinction between the previous and current regimes has become thin. Speeches of current officials are like speeches of previous leaders about the corruption, crime, economic revival, freedom of speech and other benefits not got by ordinary people.
However, present officials diversify their commonplaces. For example, the leadership of Kyrgyzstan has chosen a new approach to solve problems: it ignores them. The bright example is the situation with media outlets.
I don’t see and hear
Recently the Russian reporter wrote in the New York Times about problems of the mass media in the Russian Federation. He listed such problems as trials over the independent mass media, intimidations and beating of journalists. But the most terrible thing, in his opinion, is that the work of the mass media is not efficient. Revelations of corrupt officials, raising serious social and economic issues are ignored by the authorities. “They just don’t want to hear us,” the Russian journalist regrets.
Something similar is happening here in Kyrgyzstan. Battery of journalists, nationalist scandals in editor’s offices becomes usual and this is threatening. International organizations and local human right activists are speaking about it; this is being discussed in forums. But there are persons who are keeping the silence, namely people who declared themselves heroes of won democracy. Neither the Government nor the president for transitional period nor the Parliament responded in due way to the happening. Authorities keep the zero response to the problem.
We don’t ask for the protection that is inaccessible even for the people of the country despite guarantees described in the most democratic Constitution in the Central Asia (according to the authorities). And this is not a problem of the mass media, this is a trouble for whole our society.
Histrionics of authorities
No matter how they are convincing you but a person is not able to change for the short time. Surely he can adapt and officials have a big level of flexibility. But this is an outer shell. Old actors are not able to play in new conditions. So, should we surprise at the situation with the mass media?
No one politician likes to be slammed and reminded about promises given during pre-election campaign. He is smiling and sings the song about the democracy and freedom for the whole nation but don’t be mistaken: the psychology of old managers is viable. That is why politicians and top officials of Kyrgyzstan treat with the mass media as servants. The best image of the mass media is to publish the dirt about the competitor, present the silly idea as a brilliant and stand still like a waiter on the watch for the next order or tip.
But instead the mass media are snarling, kicking and not standing still in servile pose. They are touching authorities on their sour place and thrust the mud they promised to clean and preferring to ignore now under their nose. What is the way out? Only thrashing but in such way that any suspicions don’t fall upon a “politician – educator”. This method of education for the mass media is very popular today meanwhile the presidential elections are looming consequently reeducation must be carried out at a rapid pace. So, the current pressure on the mass media is warm-up. Surely, top officials don’t speak directly about the censorship but the desire is too big. It is slipping out in their rhetorical phrases and quasi concern for the freedom of the speech.
Nobody bans the authorities to establish the order in this sphere. For example, a dozen of newspapers are using actively nationalist rhetoric in their publications descending to the direct abuses. But authorities don’t notice that. But they are strongly offended when journalists ask them uncomfortable questions about April events, Osh tragedy, nationalization and other improper dealings. And this is when the talks about responsibility of the mass media are emerging.
Nobody calls to love the mass media. The favorite mass media in any state is a propaganda mouthpiece. But in Kyrgyzstan, it is enough not to lie and to follow civilized rules of the game described in the laws and obligatory for observance by all members of the society.
On the power’s edge
The Square near the Government House is fulfilling functions of the mass media in Kyrgyzstan. Negative reaction to publications or their neglect causes rallies and blocking roads. This is the only way now to make themselves heard. It seems the leadership understands only threats. There is no dialogue. Neither between the mass media and the Government nor ordinary people and officials.
It is hardly that referendums, elections and progressive laws will help in such situation. Everybody wants the power and the situation can be changed if the current power elite will be substituted by the people with new world outlook. But we can just guess when it will happen as the long-time forecast is not for Kyrgyzstan.
Nevertheless, event today’s authorities of the country like previous one draw themselves near to the people. Upcoming elections will make top officials to come to people and listen to their problems they ignored before. Well, the freedom of the speech is a traditionally popular issue like a revolutionary flag for pre-election rallies.
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