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24 Apr, 2008 13:29

Media hotshots in Kazakhstan

Major players from the world of modern-day TV, radio and the press are meeting in the Kazakh capital, Almaty.

After a warm welcome from Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbaev, the forum kicked off.

The goal is to give the media the opportunity to share its views on politics, freedom of speech/information, and how events in the region are covered in the media around the world.

They say they’re here to look for answers to the most difficult questions – through lively discussion and a frank exchange of opinions.

“This is one of the main and most democratic ways of regulating the media – discussions between journalists. Of course, these discussions influence the quality of their work,” Russian political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky summarised.

With a plan to debate on all major issues, the media elite had a lot to focus on during the first day.

The participants seemed excited with the opportunity to share opinions with their colleagues and turn dialogue into heated debate.

Among the topics touched upon were the situation around Kosovo, election coverage, instability in the world’s financial systems, and frozen conflicts in today’s world.

But a debate on Russia’s relationship with the West attracted the most delegates. Journalists and experts discussed the possibility of a new Cold War.

“Today there is a new Russia. We have some disagreements with Russia, and Russia has some disagreements with us. But we have a great many overlapping, complimentary interests. So it’s a very different relationship,” said Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was a U.S. national security advisor from 1977-81.

While some said the old clichés are over, others said a rivalry between Russia and the West is a reality.

“I, for one, think that there are no objective reasons for Russia to make its relationship with the West better – we don’t need anything from them, nothing at all,” political analyst Mikhail Leontyev said.