Astrakhan hosting 4th Caspian Media Forum
The 4th Caspian Media Forum - a unique platform for exchanging experiences, discussing new vectors for the development of regional and international journalism, and creating a unified information space of the countries of the Caspian region - has opened in Astrakhan on September 19. The media forum in Astrakhan was attended by media representatives from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. Panel discussions, expert meetings and strategic sessions will take place at various venues during the two days of forum. The forum was co-organized by the Center for International Public Policy Studies 'Caspian-Eurasia.'
The media forum was opened by a plenary session with the participation of the Astrakhan region's governor Alexander Zhilkin, as well as representatives of delegations from the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. The meeting was attended by Russian Foreign Ministry's Ambassador at-large Igor Bratchikov, deputy minister of Russia's Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media Alexei Volin, Iran's Consul General in Astrakhan Ali Mohammadi, head of the Kazakh delegation Serik Egizbayev, as well as representative of the Turkmen delegation Perkhat Nuryev.
The session opened with welcoming remarks by the Astrakhan region's governor Alexander Zhilkin. "The forum is very representative this year. It gathered journalists and media experts from the 'Caspian Five' countries. During the forum's work, we held many events and signed agreements on information cooperation. Exchange of information was established between the media outlets of partner countries: they publish materials in print and electronic media, we have the Caspian editorial team. It works out ongoing media plans, prepares news releases about the Caspian region, a quick exchange of information in emergency situations set up, as well as important political events. Information and technological support is provided." According to Alexander Zhilkin, thanks to the work of the Caspian editorial team, the region knows more about the life of the Caspian countries. "We receive information necessary for joint industrial and agrarian projects, we exchange experience in solving environmental problems. We monitor information programs in interregional non-state relations." The head of the region also stressed the work of the Caspian Expert Group. More than 10 teleconferences have been held since the establishment of the Caspian Expert Club, including field meetings in Aktau and Baku. "All this helps to expand the borders and cooperation between our countries," Zhilkin said.
The deputy minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, Alexey Volin, also made welcoming remarks: "I am glad that I am opening the Caspian Media Forum for the fourth time. This event became an integral part of the media and political calendar of events taking place in the Caspian. Information cooperation is not limited to the days of the forum. We work daily to set up a unified information space. It is very important that we pay attention to industrial, environmental and transportation problems. It should be noted that not just Caspian countries express interest in the forum. Which is confirmed by the Uzbek delegation presented here today, and it shows that the forum is expanding." In addition, Alexey Volin proposed to create a single information bank or informal news agency, which would disseminate information in the Caspian region and beyond.
Following the panel session titled 'The Caspian - the territory of the future', a resolution was adopted at the meeting of the Caspian Expert Club at the media forum. "The signing of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea on August 12, 2018, was a historic landmark in the international relations of the Caspian region. Thanks to the joint efforts of the heads of all five Caspian states, a unique document was approved, which guarantees a climate of cooperation, good-neighborliness and mutual understanding, it also fixes the conditions of cooperation between the Caspian states in various spheres - industrial, military, environmental. The adoption of the Convention has become an example of a new level of diplomatic relations between our countries, and according to many experts - the most difficult issue decided in a multilateral format over the past quarter of a century," the document reads.
"The signing of the Convention and intergovernmental agreements on trade, economic and transport cooperation has created the preconditions for consolidating the efforts of the Caspian countries in enhancing the investment attractiveness and competitiveness of the Caspian region. The Caspian region's steady growth in the global system of macroeconomic coordinates, the progressive development of trade, infrastructure and logistics impose the need to form a single mechanism for trade and economic interaction between all regional players. The Organization for the Caspian Economic Cooperation (OCEC), headquartered in Astrakhan, could be such an universal mechanism. The creation of such an organization will contribute not only to consolidating the potential of the Caspian states, but also to achieving a new level of economic development on the basis of multilateral projects," the resolution stresses.
Members of the Caspian Expert Club said that the formation of the Organization for the Caspian Economic Cooperation should be carried out taking into account the geopolitical position of the region and in close cooperation with the already functioning regional international structures, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) - as well as called on the heads of the Caspian countries to develop and approve the Caspian Development Strategy as a single economic, humanitarian, educational and information space under the conditions of the further development of Caspian diplomacy.
"Cooperation in the sphere of mass communications, which will allow to overcome the information disunity of the region, can become a foundation for the formation of a new model of the Caspian Partnership, as it will give an impetus to the creation of its own information guides, thus contributing to the expansion of the dialogue between the Caspian states and the strengthening of the region's information security. The already traditional Caspian Media Forum performs an exceptional geopolitical mission. Being an authoritative discussion area, which is annually attended by experts from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, the media forum serves as an important milestone on the path towards setting up a unified information space of the Caspian states, opening up great prospects for the region's successful development and approval of the Caspian on the global stage," the resolution concludes.