Caspian region's image in media space
Caspian region's image is composed of common projects in tourism, culture and economy trough the competent media coverage. On November 28, this issue was discussed by the participants of the second meeting of the Caspian Expert Club on the Astrakhan-24 TV channel. The journalists of print and electronic media, as well as representatives of tourism and business joined the discussion.
The head of the Center for International Public Policy Studies 'Caspian-Eurasia', Andrei Syzranov, said that the majority of participants in the discussion represent the leading mass media outlets of Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, therefore, the issues for discussion sound like this: Is there a single image of the region in the media field of the five Caspian littoral states? What tools are used in the formation of a positive image of the region? Is it possible to coordinate media efforts of Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan to make this image more attractive to tourists and investors?"
Andrei Syzranov (on the left)
Director general of the union of companies 'Analysis. Consulting. PR', Ismail Agakishiev, noted: "In order to form a common information space, we will only have to unite and start our work. The Astrakhan region's inhabitants know best what is happening in the region. A lot of work in this direction is underway in Baku, Astrakhan and Astana, but the time has come and now we need to unite. This region has significant resources for foreign investment, but investors may simply not be aware of projects that are beneficial for them. The image begins with establishment of a clear image of the region - how we want it to be. Before making films, writing books, preparing TV shows, it is necessary to clearly define the idea, develop the image. In this regard, celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Astrakhan province is a good reason to combine three main elements of the image - past, present and future. Great history, modern successes and future aspirations".
The head of the Agency for Communications of the Astrakhan region, Marina Zaitseva, said: "At the moment, we have two interesting and promising projects - the Caspian editorial office and the Caspian Media Forum, which we have successfully held twice with the support of the Higher School of Economics. I think that it is particularly important to engage the expert community and modern technologies - online broadcasts, skype-conferences- in projects. We have already adopted all of this and now preparing for the 3rd Caspian Media Forum, I invite the experts of today's event to take part in it as both tutors and guests".
The Skype meeting of the international roundtable was attended by the experts from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan - the Director of the Center of Analytical Studies 'Eurasian Monitoring' Alibek Tazhibayev from Almaty and the manager of the 'Greater Middle East' news agency, Ali Hajizade, from Baku.
Alibek Tazhibayev spoke about the Expo 2017 international exhibition, which will be held in Kazakhstan from June 20 to September 20, 2017. The role of this event cannot be overestimated - it will attract a huge amount of media outlets from around the world, which will draw attention to the Caspian information space. "Such projects as the EXPO-2017 will become the symbols, the brands of the Caspian countries. In the long run, they create a positive image of not only Kazakhstan, but also of neighboring countries, including Russia," Tazhibayev believes.
Ali Hajizade noted that in order to form a common information space in the region, it is important to obtain the most objective information, not only in Russian language: "Information should constantly come, including in English, because outside of the region, there are those who are interested in its agenda. It is important to introduce modern technology, especially when it comes to social networks. Modern people more frequently consume information from the Facebook news feed, rather than any news portal, therefore, our task is to convey important information to him. For example, hashtags, which are useful to optimize a given project, help to do this".
"Common Information Space implies openness of its participants, therefore, we cannot achieve it fully yet, but there are definitely reciprocal steps," the head of the Astrakhan Tourist Information Centre, Natalia Ryabinina, said. She noted that the gradual development of tourist relations between the Astrakhan region and Turkmenistan has begun after the Second Caspian Media Forum, in particular easing the visa regime for tourist groups, the development of joint tourism projects and routes.
At the end of the meeting, Andrey Syzranov drew attention to the fact that the 300th anniversary of the Astrakhan province in 2017 will be very important in order to attract media attention to the Caspian region as a whole and to the Astrakhan region in particular . "A series of activities related to this memorable date will be organized. For example, the Third Caspian Media Forum will be held in autumn next year, which will be attended by delegations from all countries in the region. A School of journalistic skills will be opened on the sidelines of the media forum, it will be prepared by qualified specialists of the leading Russian information agencies and universities. The Caspian Expert Club's work will continue. There is a possibility that a regular meeting of the Valdai club will be held in Astrakhan. While there is no certainty in this matter, but if it is held in Astrakhan, it would give a powerful impetus to expertise and information work on the main Caspian site".