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Appeal of the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan, Internews Kazakhstan and NAT Kazakhstan

March 14, 2002

To Commission on conduction of competitions for receipt of right on ground television and radio broadcasting in the Republic of Kazakhstan

Dear Commission members,

Union of journalists of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Representative office of the international organization “Internews Network” in Kazakhstan and National Association of television and radio broadcasters of Kazakhstan appeal to You with request to reconsider the decision of the Commission, as a result of which licenses of a number of Kazakhstan’s stations were temporarily (for 6 months) recalled, in particular, in Temirtau (Channel 43, TKT, Channel 29).

As far as we know, now broadcasting of the television companies corresponds legislation norms, which was confirmed by the inspection conducted in February by Karaganda’s regional department of mass media and propaganda of reforms of the Ministry of culture information and public accord of the Republic of Kazakhstan. During the previous session of the Commission in February it was announced that in case stations find a chance to advance programming to appropriate level of observance of legislation, decision on recall of license may be changed. If the Commission provides this sort of recommendations, the Ministry of transport and communications shall consider them, and in this case the issue may be resolved quickly.

We are sure that recommending the Ministry of transport and communications to resume operation of license will demonstrate the public that the Commission’s goal is not to repress and punish television station but stimulating development of national broadcasting.

It is difficult to expect that ban on activity for the term of 6 months will have a stimulating impact for mass media development. It is essential to consider that companies are private and exist only on funds earned on advertising. No airing means no advertising, then no profits. For this period the companies will suffer substantial financial deprivation, its employees will be left without salary, and their families, consequently, without means for subsistence. We draw your attention to the fact that the issue concerns a town that has serious social problems, where issues of unemployment, drug addiction and AIDS incidence have reached the highest level in the country. In the town, where opportunities if advertising market are slight, and consequently for private mass media it is hard to seek financing sources for production of personal programs, and even temporary suspension of activity of the television company, loss of an advertiser and possible sources of income may lead to fatal consequences for private broadcasters.

Moreover, we have information that the license recall itself, suspension of broadcasting, sealing of transmitters on stations in Temirtau were conducted without proper documenting of these procedures. As a result of these omissions and violations from the direction of licensor a conflict situation was created, when stations had a moral right to continue broadcasting until documents for recall would be legalized properly. We suppose that now it is not worth looking for the guilty and responsible for errors. Procedure and formal order of temporary or final recall of license should be thought out and legalized according to the law. This will take some time. However at the present moment it is extremely important to resolve the conflict situation in accordance with expectations of the community and interests of Temirtau population. The most important is that broadcasters, Temirtau stations, showed a desire to improve work of stations and increase production of personal programs, and positive changes can be seen in practice.

Best regard,

Seitkazy Matayev, Chairman of the Union of journalists of Kazakhstan

Oleg Katsiyev, Director of the Representative office of the international organization “Internews Network” in Kazakhstan

Armanzhan Baytasov, President of the National Association of television and radio broadcasters of Kazakhstan

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