Journalism education in Central Asia called outdated

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media organised a regional conference entitled “Improving the Quality of Journalism Education and New Technologies” in Bishkek.

Tair Shamshiev

2009-10-23

KYRGYZSTAN — On Oct. 15 and 16, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and the OSCE Centre in Bishkek jointly held a regional conference on “Improving the Quality of Journalism Education and New Technologies.”

Participants included reporters, media experts and university faculty from Central Asian countries, France, Germany, Finland, Russia, Lithuania and Georgia. For the first time, representatives from Turkmenistan also took part in the conference.

According to Manana Aslamazyan, Executive Director of the civil society organisation Internews Europe, greater emphasis must be placed on the development of journalism schools that include professional journalists, both domestic and foreign, working together with educators to train students. Many conference participants criticised current journalism education in Central Asia as being too conservative and outdated, citing the fact that media organisations in the region employ virtually no new technologies.

They adopted a declaration recommending the introduction of courses on internet journalism, modern media design and civic journalism in university programmes. The declaration emphasised, however, that a lack of journalistic education should not be a bar to becoming a journalist.

According to Russian Center for Law and News Media Director Andrei Rikhter, journalism is considered an open profession, and a degree in journalism is therefore not required in order to practise it. “At the same time, however, journalism is a profession that demands special knowledge and skills,” he said.

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