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Models of tomorrow day’s media in contemporary world

Minsk hosts 7th Belarusian International Media Forum: ‘Partnership for the Sake of the Future: Models of the New Era’
By Vasily Kharitonov

Each year, the latest topics are chosen for discussion, with professional experts taking part: political analysts, scientists, sociologists and politicians — alongside journalists. This year’s plenary session tackled prospects of development for Eurasian integration.

According to Pavel Yakubovich, Editor-in-Chief of SB newspaper, addressing several hundred representatives from 17 countries, who met at the conference hall of the National Library, the forum posed the questions of ‘Which challenges await us regarding Eurasian integration?’ and ‘How can Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan tackle these challenges?’.

The State Secretary of the Union State, Grigory Rapota, contributed to the discussion, as did the First Deputy Executive Secretary of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, Nikolay Sosonko and the Chair of the Council of the Republic’s Committee on International Affairs and National Security, Nina Mazai. Political analysts Vitaly Tretyakov, Sergey Baburin and Mikhail Reutov were among those present. Interestingly, opinions differed widely, with questions from the floor creating heated debate. However, the conclusion was that the post-Soviet space can resist globalisation only by uniting efforts and simultaneously taking into account national interests. “The integration of Minsk, Moscow and Astana is a serious and timely measure, as seen especially vividly against the background of the crisis, which has spread all over the EU,” underlined Mr. Yakubovich, drawing preliminary conclusions. “The benefits of integration for Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan are evident.”

Vladimir Makei, the Head of the Presidential Administration, gave a much-awaited speech which explored the trends of our new century and possible scenarios of development. Unfortunately, the world is unable to always cope with challenges and threats, especially when old recipes fail and new ones are yet to be invented. He voiced a fresh thought: although the world is becoming ever more interdependent, free movement of goods, capital and labour can lead to unseen economic stratification.
“Globalisation shouldn’t be accompanied by loss of national independence, or identity or the impoverishment of any population,” he stressed, outlining the major thrust of Belarusian integration policy. “Belarus remains a socially-oriented state, aiming to enhance standards of living for its residents. Eurasian integration shouldn’t be isolated. The Belarusian President believes in an ‘integration of integrations’ to unite the European and Eurasian unions: from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”
This inspired discussion of a range of narrower professional issues regarding the media sphere, with heads of printed editions and TV companies, as well as heads of journalistic unions, sharing their opinions. They debated the summer journalism school, the cradle of Belarusian statehood and spirituality (Polotsk) and the significance of our classical Belarusian literary geniuses, Yanka Kupala and Yakub Kolas.

The 7th Belarusian International Media Forum was launched with an expert session at the Town Hall, dedicated to the present and future of Minsk and its plans for the 2014 IIHF World Championship. Friendly greetings in various languages were heard on the square before the meeting officially began, as colleagues from all media spheres took photos alongside characters dressed in knightly armour and velvet and ermine outfits. 

The Chairman of the Minsk City Executive Committee, Nikolai Ladutko, then announced plans for the development of the capital — whose population now stands at 2m. Afterwards, Belarus’ Sports and Tourism Minister, Oleg Kachan, joined the heads of the National Olympic Committee and the Belarusian Ice Hockey Federation in explaining preparations for the grand hockey tournament.
Belarus’ Information Minister, Oleg Proleskovsky, expressed his pleasure, noting, “This event has already become a tradition and we are developing from forum to forum. This time, media representatives have joined political analysts and the heads of large research centres in sharing their views. Minsk is turning into a discussion ground for tackling acute social problems. The Internet and social networks are now part of our modern world’s media forum, bringing new challenges and opportunities to contemporary journalism. In my view, the media is changing into a means of mass communication.”

Others at the forum shared their opinions over its four days. Around a hundred guests alone arrived from a total of 16 CIS and non-CIS states — including Russia, China, India, Venezuela and Ukraine. The heads of news agencies from the CIS had their own sessions, as did deans of institutes and journalism departments. Several hundred Belarusian media workers also took part.

At the request of our foreign colleagues, who were eager to see more of the country, trips were organised to Polotsk, which is celebrating its 1150th anniversary this year, and to Kupala’s homeland in Vyazynka. The last day of the forum was dedicated to the Year of Book, organised in Belarus.
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