Academic Sagymbai Kozybaev is considered as one of the founders of Kazakh journalism. For more than 35 years of Kozybaev's work in Kazakh National University, named after Al-Farabi, hundreds of young boys and girls received from him a pass to the professional journalism.
Today we are very honored to introduce in our «Interview» heading the excerpts from our conversation with the Sagymbai Kabashevich Kozybayev, President of the Kazakh Academy of Journalism, which took place during the first days in February, 2009.
- Sagymbai Kabashevich, how do you evaluate the current condition of Kazakhstani journalism?
- First and foremost, I would like to emphasize that during the period of independence, our journalism has passed several stages. There are about 6000 medias registered today, more than 2500 newspapers and TV-channels of them working effectively.
The market and democracy have brought a lot of modern things to the journalism. First of all - the realities of market economy.
More analytical publications on the socio-economic problems and financial issues are appearing in the media. Also the increasing competition for readers, for their loyalty becomes one of the distinctive aspects. This forces the editors and journalists constantly work on the quality of materials and look for the new, interesting themes for the society. Otherwise, as it's said, there will be no good luck.
It's great that not only national publications are involved in this process. There is an active development of the regional press, which does not focus on their local interests only, raising global questions of the country on their pages.
I can't also ignore the development process of business journalism in Kazakh language. For example, Alliance Bank in 2008, held a second contest "Qalam-Qarji" Media Awards for medias in Kazakh for the best coverage on financial topics. We have seen many serious and very interesting materials, despite the fact that the financial issue is the most difficult in journalism. It's not enough to have only journalistic education. It's needed to understand the subject, and as well have economic education or knowledge of the economic theory.
Today we can confidently declare: the Kazakhstan' business journalism is a reality. We have already Doctor of Sciences on the subject - Sharvan Nurgozhina, recently defended the thesis on the functioning and development of the Kazakhstan's business journalism.
And I am confident that the impact of the global financial and economic crisis will not prevent its development.
- By the way, about the crisis. How, in your opinion, will the current difficulties affect the business of journalism?
- I think there will be a surge in the development of business journalism soon. We can already see this: the pages are widening, the themes become deeper, journalists are not afraid to talk about serious world issues openly.
Moreover, the financial crisis pushes business journalism to quality growth. In quantitative terms, we already have our business journalism, and now it will grow in quality.
- You are more than 35 years in the education of young journalists, and many current journalists are your students. Are there any differences between today's students and students of the 80s?
- There are both positive and negative differences.
I'll start with the negative. Earlier there was only one faculty preparing journalists in Kazakhstan. In general, there were only 4 of them in the east of the Soviet Union: in Almaty, Tashkent, Irkutsk and Sverdlovsk.
And now, only in Kazakhstan, there are twenty-three faculties of journalism. It is a profanation of journalistic education. Unfortunately, not all depends on us. There is no evening and distance education, post-graduate course is closed and so on.
When we had only one faculty of journalism, there was a very tough selection of students. We are proud to talk about the graduates, who graduated our faculty 20-25 years ago.
Now young people read less, they become more "computerized". Of course, there are some nuances - it's a new time, new technologies. But the fact that modern students do not read books is bad. Books are the standard, classic, tested by the time. A word printed in the newspaper even after many years can be effective.
And more. Market realities make a lot of young people choose paid study. This consumer side of the education - "I'm paying you, and you give me a product for that" - often does not contribute to the establishment of the contact between student and teacher.
On the other hand, today's youth quickly catches new technologies. For example, we see how quickly the digital technologies are implemented in television. And the fact that students can easily master them is good.
It's also good that modern students, just as their colleagues of 70s and 80s, are seeking a personal contact with teachers - in fact it is a kind of master class.
- How do you imagine the journalism of the future?
- It's a very difficult question. Today, journalism is called the fourth estate, or a servant of power, or even the chain dog of the democracy. Many different labels are existing.
There's a hard discussion today on appearance of the journalist. Must he be impudent, catching interlocutor by the throat? Or should journalism be honest and responsible for people pertaining to it?
I think we need to convince society that the media - is the most important social institution. It forms people's world outlook, their education. In addition, Lenin's idea about organizational role of the press has not lost its relevance today.
I wish journalism in the future to be balanced and responsible. It is very important for a journalist to have an internal censor.
I wish also that in the future, despite the rapid development of new technologies, the journalists do not forget the positive experience of past generations.
- What would you wish our readers?
- Turning to the balance and responsibility of our journalism, I urge my colleagues to keep in mind the old truism: second thoughts are best. Word is just like a surgical scalpel, you can hurt, and you can heal. Never bring your social mission to the altar of speculation.
Each of our colleagues must remember the principle of good journalism - internal censor. And thanks to God, most of my colleagues follow this.