18 november 2017

Central Asia news

Honestly and Sans Frontiers is the motto of a new and unusual Internet project in Kazakhstan

16.03.2007 16:05 msk

Feruza Jani

Interview Kazakhstan

Inkar.Info or Internet Radio began its work in Kazakhstan on March 1. Here is an interview with the author of the unusual project, prominent Kazakh journalist and publicist Sergei Duvanov.

Sergei Duvanov: It was the impossibility of working on radio or TV because of the state censorship that generated the idea of working in the Internet in the audio mode. Generally speaking, this is a more or less ordinary web site which resembles radio by a number of features and parameters. We are talking a new source of information available through the technologies and opportunities offered by the Internet. The project is possible now because the Internet speed in Kazakhstan nowadays is such as to permit audio files download.

Inkar.Info or Internet Radio began its work in Kazakhstan on March 1. Here is an interview with the author of the unusual project, prominent Kazakh journalist and publicist Sergei Duvanov.

Ferghana.Ru: Why would anyone set up a web site where news should be listened to and not read?

Sergei Duvanov: It was the impossibility of working on radio or TV because of the state censorship that generated the idea of working in the Internet in the audio mode. Generally speaking, this is a more or less ordinary web site which resembles radio by a number of features and parameters. We are talking a new source of information available through the technologies and opportunities offered by the Internet. The project is possible now because the Internet speed in Kazakhstan nowadays is such as to permit audio files download.

Ferghana.Ru: What is so great about audio files in the first place? I'd say reading is more convenient...

Sergei Duvanov: Why do we have radio then? That's the point: radio always has a better on listeners effect that any printed materials on readers. And TV is a step forward compared to radio because it adds the visuals. I'm convinced that all of that makes radio much more efficient than printed materials.

Ferghana.Ru: But advantage of radio and TV comes down to efficiency, i.e. speed. And Inkar.Info offers recordings.

Sergei Duvanov: Our media outlet comprises features of Internet and radio. We are even better than radio because everyone is free to choose whatever program he or she wants to listen too.

Ferghana.Ru: How many men are there in the editorial office?

Sergei Duvanov: Four young journalists, for the time being. Sergei Khitsurjani is Chief Editor. We are only beginning you know. It is necessary to establish stable and reliable channels of information gathering. There is room for improvement on the web site itself. Certain problems exist of course, but the audience is getting used to us.

Ferghana.Ru: How available is the Internet in Kazakhstan?

Sergei Duvanov: On the average, 12% of the population are Internet-users. An hour in the net costs in Kazakhstan between $1 and $2. It depends on the local ISP.

Ferghana.Ru: Is Inkar.Info a personal or collective project?

Sergei Duvanov: Collective. We are getting help and technical support from the Civil Society Foundation.

Ferghana.Ru: And who are the sponsors?

Sergei Duvanov: We do not have sponsors per se. For starters, we just borrowed a certain sum. We hope to get some grants in the near future or find a sponsor who will be interested in helping us.

Ferghana.Ru: Your motto, Honestly and Sans Frontiers. What does it mean?

Sergei Duvanov: It means that the web site is not going to be political or ideological. To a certain extent, this is a new incarnation of my old project Fahrenheit 451. It was a newspaper that was available to all - ideologists of the regime, opposition, and even neutral people. It was a podium for disputes and discussions. That's what we are trying to do again. In the meantime, we do not set up any borders, meaning subjects that are a taboo. We retain the right to inform our audience honestly but without breaking the laws and the Constitution.

Ferghana.Ru: What subjects do you intend to bring up?

Sergei Duvanov: Inkar.Info is a sociopolitical web site which means that we will dwell upon economic issues, social problems, political matters, analyses, the president's latest speeches. For example, we already covered Nurlan Abljazov's Something project (Internet project, that is). We covered the scandals that followed Minister of Culture Yertysbayev's careless statement concerning journalists... The spectrum of issues therefore is quite broad. We are not after being original or something, we will repeat information from traditional web sites - Kub.kz, Zona.kz (ex-Navigator). I like their editorial policy, you know. They are quite neutral and politically independent.

Ferghana.Ru: By the way, what's your opinion of the conflict between journalists and Yertysbayev?

Sergei Duvanov: The minister has apologized. The wrong has been corrected as far as I'm concerned. Journalists scored a victory. The lout was shown his place. He admitted he had been wrong, he apologized.

As a matter of fact, I assume that our defense or interior minister may be that rude. Not that it is forgivable of course, but it is at least logical - more or less. We do forgive our police and our military certain lack of tact, don't we? But minister of culture is different, of course. He is supposed to be the image of the regime. Actually, his rudeness discredited all of the state power in Kazakhstan. Strange as it may appear, but this episode played into the hands of journalists meaning that it consolidated them. As I see it, even whoever is clearly pro-government will think twice now before doing something rash.

Ferghana.Ru: What is your opinion of the shape Kazakh web journalism is in nowadays?

Sergei Duvanov: It is developing. Nobody took the Internet seriously five years ago. These days, however, it is a serious channel already. It is something that affects people's lives. Do not forget who the Internet surfers are. They are the elite - politicians, parliamentarians, state officials, opposition activists, analysts, scientists. It is these people who shape politics in Kazakhstan, and it is these people who are Internet users. It follows that the materials posted in the Internet wield as much clout or nearly as much as those published in a popular newspaper.

Ferghana.Ru: Do you think the regime will tolerate a web site that is honest and recognizes no frontiers?

Sergei Duvanov: I'd say that the web site will irritate both the authorities and the opposition. We will report everything. We want to work, that's all, and we do not want to break any laws.