OSCE-supported forum focused on Internet development in Central Asia


OSCE-supported forum focused on Internet development in Central AsiaA two-day regional forum on Internet development in Central Asia co-organized by the OSCE Centre started in Almaty on June 23.

The Second Central Asian Internet Development Forum brought together some 100 participants, including media experts and journalists from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan Uzbekistan, Russia, Lithuania and Ukraine, as well as representatives from the Kazakhstani government, non-governmental and international organizations and diplomatic missions, the press service of the OSCE Centre in Astana said.

Participants discussed topics including the Internet and freedom of expression, governmental regulation of the Internet, business aspects of the Internet, local electronic media content and web resources in national languages. They also focused on the challenges of developing the Internet as one of the few unrestricted sources of information, and exchange views about potential threats to the free flow of online information.

“The Internet has become one of the most important sources of pluralistic information,” said Jeannette Kloetzer, the Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Astana. “The overall goal of this forum supported by the OSCE Centre is to enhance dialogue in order to explore the full potential of the Internet, to identify potential obstacles and ways to address them, while observing.international standards and OSCE commitments on freedom of expression and information.”

Marat Absattarov, the Head of the Department of State Policy on Media under Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Communication and Information, added: “Kazakhstan has been consistently working on improving state policy on development of the Internet through enhancing the infrastructure throughout the country and providing quality network connections. The government also takes active steps toward developing an effective partnership between the state and media outlets.”

Issues raised during panel discussions will be used to formulate a set of recommendations on the further development of the Internet in the region. The recommendations will be distributed to government agencies and other interested parties.

The forum is the second in a series of events co-organized by the OSCE Centre in Astana, the MediaNet International Centre of Journalism, public foundation “Media Alliance of Kazakhstan”, the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan, the Delegation of the European Union and the US Embassy in Kazakhstan.