THE WEAKNESS OF NATIONAL BROADCASTING AS A FACTOR AGAINST NATION-FORMATION IN KYRGYZSTAN Y. Emre Giirbiiz1

18 Eylül 2017 09:36
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THE WEAKNESS OF NATIONAL BROADCASTING AS A FACTOR AGAINST NATION-FORMATION IN KYRGYZSTAN Y. Emre Giirbiiz1 Abstract Since the independence Kyrgyzstan faces problems with sovereignty, which is also manifested in media. The Northern and Southern Kyrgyzstan is separated by mountains and they were open to different influences since ages. Modern developments in infrastructure cleared many factors dividing nations, but it has limited significance in terms of national unity in Kyrgyzstan so far. For Benedict Anderson print capitalism is crucial in the establishment of some belonging to a defined territory with administrative borders. Print capitalism had helped the individuals to imagine common links with other individuals within the borders through news covering this territory. Today media is more than just newspapers, and Kyrgyzstan does not only suffer from the lack of nationally distributed newspapers but radio and television channels have also limited coverage. The mountainous geography is a serious hindrance for the national coverage. Different territories of Kyrgyzstan follow broadcasts of different foreign media channels. In Southern Kyrgyzstan - neighboring Uzbekistan - Uzbek channels are being watched by most and in the North generally Russian and Kazakh channels’ broadcasts are being watched. The mountainous geography also reinforces local media. This divided territory for media is one of the factors hampering the development of an understanding of belonging to the Kyrgyz Republic and the consolidation of citizenship. The cleavage between the North and the South - divided by mountains - is also reproduced through broadcasts. The study aims to analyze statistical data to investigate radio and television channels followed in different regions of Kyrgyzstan in order to show the regionaliation and the impact of foreign media in Kyrgyzstan. Keywords: Kyrgyzstan, National Sovereignty, Media, Construction of Nation-state, Print Capitalism. Ozet ; Bagimsizlik elde edildiginden beri Kirgizistan egemenlikle ilgili sorunlarla kar§ila?maktadir. Bu, medyamn durumunda da kendini gostermektedir. Kuzey ve Giiney Kirgizistan daglarla birbirinden ayrilmiftir ve bu bolgelerden yiizyillardir farkli kultiirel etkiler altmdadir. Altyapi alanmdaki 9agda§ gelifmeler uluslari bolen pek 90k etkeni ortadan kaldirmiftir, ancak Kirgizistan’da ulusal birligin olufturulmasi a^ismdan bunun etkisi §imdilik smirh kalmi§tir. Benedict Anderson’a gore kapitalist yaymcilik, idari smirlara sahip, tanimh bir bolgeye aidiyet yaratilmasmda kritik oneme sahiptir. Kapitalist yaymcilik, 0 bolgeyle ilgili haberler aracihgiyla, bireylerin aym smirlar i<;indeki diger bireylerle ortak baglar kurmasma yardimci olmuftur. Gunumiizde medya, sadece basmdan olu§manm otesine geftniftir ve Kirgizistan’da yalmzca turn iilkede dagitimi yapilan gazetelerin eksikligi ya^anmiyor, radyo ve televizyon kanallarmm da eri^im alanlan da kisitli. Ulkenin daglik cografyasi ulusal yaym oniinde engel olu^turmakta. Kirgizistan’m farkli bolgeleri, farkli yabanci medya kanallarmm yaymlarim takip ediyor. Ozbekistan’a kom?u Giiney Kirgizistan’da pek cok kisi tarafmdan Ozbek kanallari izleniyor; Kuzey Kirgizistan’da ise, genellikle Rus ve Kazak kanallari izleniyor. Daglik cografya yerel medyayi da etkiliyor. Medyamn bu bolunmu§ alam, Kirgiz Cumhuriyeti’ne aidiyet anlayismm gelismesini ve yurttasligm peki^mesini engelleyen etkenlerden biridir. Bu ^alifma,Kirgizistanm farkli bolgelerinde takip edilen radyo ve televizyon kanallari hakkmdaki istatistiksel veriler aracihgiyla, Kirgizistan medyasmdaki bolgecilik ve yabanci medyanm etkisini incelemeyi ama<;lamaktadir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Kirgizistan, Ulusal Egemenlik, Medya, Ulus-devlet in$asi, Kapitalist Yaymcilik. Introduction It has been more than two decades since the independence of Kyrgyzstan was acquired, but Kyrgyzstan still faces problems with sovereignty, which is manifested in the media as well. The structure of the media is very fragmented in Kyrgyzstan. The national broadcasting of radio-television channels and circulation of newspapers is limited. The fact that North and South Kyrgyzstan are separated by mountains confines the coverage of media, and local media gains ground against the national media. Tne weakness of creating national media is further hampered by the wide coverage of Uzbek media in the South, Russian and Kazakh media in the North. The media is one the sources of creating some perception of togetherness among the citizens of a certain state. Benedict Anderson gave great significance to print media (print capitalism) in the establishment of some belonging to a defined territory with 1 Dr. Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University Department of History; Turkic Civilization Research and Application Center, Vice-Chairman; fromemre@gmail.com. 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Turkiye I . U l u s l a r a r a s i M e d y a a 11 ? m a 1 a r 1 S e m p o z y u m u - 1 s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l S y m p o s i u m o n M e d i a S t u d i e s administrative borders. This is understood as a crucial factor in the foundation o f nation-states, because p rin t capitalism had helped the individuals to imagine common links with other individuals within the borders through news covering this territory, which had facilitated with other factors to the formation o f a nation. The shared language or dialect supported by the state spreads through newspapers. The discourse and the commonality o f issues are also shared through newspapers. They show their audience the borders of their area of interest with “their” politicians, “their” cities, “their” problems etc. So, they create an “imagined community” within the drawn national borders (Anderson, 1991). In todays world media is more than ju st newspapers, and Kyrgyzstan does n o t only suffer from the lack o f nationally distributed newspapers but radio and television channels have also limited coverage. This study, thus, will not only give information about the newspapers, but it will also give some information about other sources o f information. It will, indeed, focus on television, as television is the main source o f information in Kyrgyzstan by far (82.6%).The television channels watched in different regions of Kyrgyzstan clearly demonstrate the impact of foreign media in Kyrgyzstan. Here the main emphasis is first on the center o f the broadcast, w hether it is in Kyrgyzstan, Russia o r .Uzbekistan. Secondly the emphasis is on their national or local popularity. The origin and the language o f the programs are on the focus o f this study. Although the language and origin o f the programs are significant for national sovereignty, it is the subject matter o f another study. Most programs - be it Kyrgyz o r Russian - are in Russian language; and most of them are produced in Russia, Turkey, Korea o r USA.American, Turkish and Korean movies or television serials are watched globally, and they create common topics to be spoken among a wide community surpassing national borders b u t also within the national borders. In a way they surpass localities and they create for both global and national citizens o f a certain country common subjects for conversation. In Kyrgyzstan Russian language has a similar function, as is still the common language o f different ethnic groups. In Benedict Anderson’s example for print capitalism, different countries o f Latin America speak Spanish, but what determines their belonging to a different state are the issues shared by citizens through media. Here in the example o f Kyrgyzstan the language can be Russian, the programs can be productions of different countries, but the point is whether they can tu rn to a breeding ground for common topics to be shared by citizens from different localities o f the country o r from different ethnic groups. They create common subjects to be spoken among citizens different than their local issues. In that sense they surpass local belongings and form a breeding ground for some feeling o f togetherness. This can be reinforced by shared political issues or sports in Kyrgyzstan, for which media - and especially news programs - have a unifying function. 1. Problems to be Solved in a Multifaceted C o u n try The Kyrgyz media was established during the Soviet period. The first newspaper isfounded in 1923, Kyrgyz Tuusii (Kyrgyz flag), which is still published by the state. Kyrgyz television started its first broadcast in 1958. Although Kyrgyz media was bo rn long before the independence in 1991, the borders of the “fatherland” were n o t only perceived as the Kyrgyz SSR b u t as part of the USSR.2 After the fall o f the USSR, the newly independent state o f Kyrgyzstanhad to rebuild a new nation-state and had to reshape its state apparatus centered in the capital Bishkek - instead o f Moscow. There used to be a well-established state apparatus, but it was still a hard task to build an independent state. The main problem was economical, which made the state apparatus dysfunctional. Kyrgyz SSR was financially supported by Moscow, but Russia tu rn ed inwards to solve its domestic problems o f economic adjustment. Additionally Kyrgyzstan was poor in raw materials, and as a remedy it was transformed to a production center during the Soviet period. The raw materials were coming from other Soviet republics, and they were mainly exported. The end o f the Soviet U nion was the end of this import-export chain crucial for Kyrgyzstan. The toll o f financial problems was hardened by the fact that Kyrgyzstan was a mountainous country. The mountainous geography was and still is a serious hindrance for the construction o f a widespread communication infrastructure, which would help to broaden the coverage of media. More than 90% of the territory’s altitude is above 1,500 meters (http://www.president.kg). Two thirds o f Tian Shan Mountains are in Kyrgyzstan. There are two peaks above 7.000 meters, 25 peaks over 4,000 meters (Osmonov, 2006, p. 26), and more than 2,000 rivers cut through valleys (Osmonov, 2006, p. 83), which creates various separated zones for the people. In the past this had created a fragmented society. This fact hardens th e realization o f communications mission to create a feeling o f togetherness as citizens o f the Kyrgyz Republic. The most significant social cleavage, which has to be surmounted, is the difference between the N orthern and Southern Kyrgyzstan, which is an outcome o f the geographical separation created by the Tian Shan Mountains. The North and South of the country was generally separated in history or they were only united by loose alliances. The North and South were open to different influences as well. Before the Russian occupation after 1864 the people the N orth ern Kyrgyzstan were generally nomadic organized in clans and tribes. The South, on the other hand, was under th e influence o f the settled Fergana Valley also generally nomadic and organized in different clans and tribes. Before the Russians, the South was u n d er the control o f the Fergana-based Kokand Khanate. Although 2 Especially for the o ld p eople - Russian or Kyrgyz -S oviet past is still remembered as proud years, when they perceived themselves ascitizens o f a superpower with a mission to change the world for the better. 1 . u I u s l a r a r a s i M e d y a Q a l i j m a l a n S e m p o z y u m u 1 s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l S y m p o s i u m o n M e d i a S t u d i e th e Kyrgyz in South were also nomadic, they were in contact with the settlements on the Fergana Valley. As a result their culture was more influenced by scriptural, urbanized Islam, whereas in th e North pre-Islamic traditions were still effective. Kyrgyzstan was united during the time o f the USSR as Kyrgyz SSR, and it was connected by a network of transportation and communication infrastructure. Modern developments in infrastructure cleared many factors dividing people, but still it had its limits to overcome age’old differences in just some decades. . t h e infrastructural and communicational infrastructure, modernization and urbanization brought two segments o f the Kyrgyz community together, but they did not end the differences between regions. The cleavage between the North and Southis still socially and politically manifested. In the South the dialect is slightly different and there are some vocabulary differences. The dressing is also more conservative in the South, as a result o f their deeper historical relationship with Islam in th e settlements. This differentiation is indeed normal, unless it does notinterrupt the formation o f citizenship. In addition to the differences between the N orth ern and Southern Kyrgyz, the existence o f other ethnic groups is also a significant source o f this multifaceted society. The cities in the South, Osh and Jalalabad, are on the fringes of the Fergana Valley. The bigger p art o f the valley is in Uzbekistan, and the valley has predominantly Uzbek population. The Kyrgyzstani cities o f Osh and Jalalabad have also a big Uzbek population. 47.9% o f the population of Osh city is Kyrgyz and 44.2% is Uzbek. In the Osh region around Osh city 68.7% is Kyrgyz, 28% Uzbek. In the neighboring Jalalabad region 71.8% is Kyrgyz and 24.8% Uzbek. In the other Southern region, Batken, 76.5% is Kyrgyz and 14.7% Uzbek (h ttp://www.stat.kg/stat.files/tematika/neMorpa(fr/Kbiprbi3CTaH%20B%20uM4>pax/ fleMo6.pdf). In the North Kyrgyz are in majority again, but here the second ethnic group is the Russians. In Bishkek 66.2% is Kyrgyz and 23% Russian. In the N orthern region of Chui around Bishkek 59.1% is Kyrgyz and 20.8% Russian.In another N orthern region, Yssyk-Kul, In the North recent cities, including the capital Bishkek, were established o r formed after the coming o f the Russian. The city culture in the North, consequently, is shaped u n d er the influence o f Russian, i.e. Western, standards. In contrast with the urban culture o f the North, the urban culture o f the Southis shaped before the coming o f the Russians under the influence o f Islamic civilization, which was represented by the Uzbeks and Tajiks. The differentiation was reduced during the Soviet period with the help o f the Soviet state apparatus for centralization. Administrative changes were made to organize the Kyrgyz SSR centered inBishkek (then Frunze). These changes were, however, not sufficient. After the independence the infrastructural investments were sought to be realized. The road connecting the North and South was finished in 2005-2006 (Shimomura 2008, p. 4).But still the differences in culture remain influencing political choices. The first president o f Kyrgyzstan Askar Akayev was from the North. The second President KurmanbekBakiyev was from the South. They were both severely criticized for nepotism and corruption, o f which the ir regional affiliates were condemned to be beneficiaries. The misuse o f power by presidents reinforced the division of interest groups by region. They are followed by two presidents from the North. After Bakiyev was overthrown, the governor o f Southern city Osh was sought to be removed from his position, but the transitional government with mainly Northerners was not able to remove him. After three years he is still on duty, and he continues to resist orders o f the capital. In addition to that leading political parties in the North and in the South are different. This cultural cleavage, its representation and reproduction in political sphere areamong the manifestations o f the weakness o f a perception as citizens o f one country with shared problems and search for solutions indifferent to regionalism. 1. The Media in Kyrgyzstan It is a significant problem in terms o f Anderson’s print capitalism that newspapers in Kyrgyzstan are not widely distributed covering all villages in the country. In addition to hat there is no daily newspaper. They are published five days a week at most. Their format is tabloid, and because o f their period they are like journals. They used to be generally Russian, but in recent years Kyrgyz newspapers are more widespread. They can be bought at kiosks, but newspaper readership is very low. Newspapers are rarely seen in households or offices. Online newspapers, news agencies and blogs are more frequently followed to reach the news, especially among the young population o f Kyrgyzstan. According to “Internet World Statistics” there were 2,194,400 internet users in Kyrgyzstan as of 30 June 2012, which corresponds to 39.9% of the total population(h ttp://www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm).3Tliis figure does not include the users o f new mobile phones with internet access and visitors o f numerous internet cafes, where people can also connect to news on internet. The problem with the period and distribution of newspapers makes internet a valuable source of information. Kabar.kg, Akipress. org and 24.kg are well-known Kyrgyz news agencies w ith frequently news entries. Kabar.kg is a semi-independent, state-owned 3 The world average of internet u sers is 34.3%, in Turkey 45.798. 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Turkiye l . U l u s l a r a r a s 1 M e d y a ( ^ a l i j m a l a n S e m p o z y u m u - 1 s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l S y m p o s i u m o n M e d i a S t u d i e s news agency publishing news on its web site in Russian, Kyrgyz, English and Turkish. Akipress.org is a private news agency publishing news on its web site in Russian, Kyrgyz, English and Uzbek. 24.kg is also a private news agency publishing news on its web site in Russian, English and Kyrgyz. These news agencies fulfill in a way the role o f daily newspapers. In addition to them, there are thousands o f blogs to be found on the internet, and blogs and forums are influential as sources of information as well. Especially the forum pages o f diesel.elcat.kg, kloop.kg and namba.kg with news and blogs are very instrumental for getting news. Kloop is an interesting project took off after the overthrow o f the presidentin 2005. It is a webpage especially designated for independent journalists and students. Although it is organized as blog pages for young, freelance journalists, it is a prestigious source o f information and their members are accredited in the parliament. The insider views and discussions on the forums and blogs are critical sources for creating a perception for citizenship. Internet trivializes spatial differences and people from different regions or ethnic groups come together and discuss common interests - generally in Russian. They are not only related to political problems and solutions, but discussions about movies, music o r places also help to the creation o f togetherness. This interactive, new environment is perhaps as functional as newspapers once were. Another source o f communication is radio. Nearly all o f the radio channels are local. The popular radio channels broadcast popular music, generally in Russian. The most popular radio channel is “Kyrgyzstan Obondoru” (12%), followed by “EvropaPlyus” (10.5%), both of which are owned by the same person in Kyrgyzstan. “EvropaPlyus” is actually part o f a Russian radio channel with the same name. Some o f the broadcasts are directly transmitted from the original Russian channel. “Kyrgyzstan O bondoru” is its Kyrgyz version with announcements in Kyrgyz. The third radio channel is Ming Kyal FM (6.6%) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniya i vospriyatiyamediaauditorii 2012 g.), which is owned by the state as p a rt o f the Public Teleradio Broadcasting Company together with other four radio channels (MingKyal FM). Its broadcast covers five o f seven regions in Kyrgyzstan with local broadcasts (except Talas and Naryn) (http://www.odnoklassniki.ru/group/56287880065567). Table 1: Top Three Radio Channels in Kyrgyzstan (2012) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g., “Kyrgyzstan, Dolyaradioproslushivaniya, 2011-2012 g g ”). The mountainous geography o f Kyrgyzstan creates problems in covering the whole territory. Even the national channel is not able to cover two regions. Higher places and most valleys are also outside the coverage o f radio broadcasts. The two leading radio channels’ relation to Russia is another fact weakening the national broadcast in Kyrgyzstan. For the listeners Moscow and Russian popular culture are the focal points. The most popular medium in Kyrgyzstan is by far television. The main source o f information for 82.6% o f the population in Kyrgyzstan is television (2012). It is followed by radio (5.9%), internet (5.8%), friends and family (3.3%), and newspapers and journals {2.\%){Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 201 2 g., “Istochnikiinformatsii”). Also in terms o f evaluation as the “most important source o f information” it is by far the first medium, but the order changes with internet (7.3%), radio (4.7%), newspapers and journals (2.3%), friends and family (2.3%). The list o f “most reliable source o f information” is also the same with slightly different figures (2012) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g., “Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”). 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Turkiye 1 U l u s l a r a r a s i M e d y a C a 1 i ? m a 1 a r i S e m p o z y u m u - 1 s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l S y m p o s i u m o n M e d i a S t u d i e s Table 2: Sources o f Information in Kyrgyzstan (2012) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g , “Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”). In the sphere o f television broadcasts the fragmented structure o f the media is also reflected. The leading channel is KTR, which is the television channel o f the Public Teleradio Broadcasting Company owned by the state. The media indicator is, however, at only 20.3%. It is followed by ORT (19.7%), which is th e Public Russian Television owned by the government o f Russia. The third is EL TR (11.2%)), which is also a public Kyrgyz television channel, but it is centered in the Southern Kyrgyzstan. The fourth is also a television channel watched in the South, 7 Kanal (4.9%). They are followed by NTS/NTV television channels combined broadcast. NTS transmits the Russian television channel NTVs broadcasts in Kyrgyzstan. Actually the leading category in the list is “the others” with 20.9% (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g., “Kyrgyzstan, Media indikatorydlya TV, 2011- 2012 gg.,Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”).-‘ This relatively high proportion represents clearly the fragmented structure o f television in Kyrgyzstan. Namely, 1,579,579 people in Kyrgyzstan watch different television channels than the 11 main television channels in Kyrgyzstan. Those are mainly local television channels, which cannot enter the list of channels watched by the general audience. L Table 3: Media Indicator in Kyrgyzstan for TV (2012) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g., “Kyrgyzstan, Media indikatorydlya TV, 2011-2012 gg.,Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”). Television, which is the m ost influential medium in Kyrgyzstan, represents the undeniable fragmented structure o f the media in Kyrgyzstan. Although the leading channel is the state ru n national channel it is below the total percentage of local and minor television channels. Additionally the close second channel is Russian television channel. An Uzbek channel has also entered the list on the ninth place (Yoshlar, 2.8%), which is not low considering the fact th a t it is only watched in the South. Taking into account that the third and fourth channels are also Southern channels, and fifth is a Russian channel, the national Kyrgyz television broadcasting is very limited. The differentiation between the Northern and Southern television channels becomes more obvious, if we compare the 4 The figures in this paragraph are from the same source. The explanations are based upon interviews made in Kyrgyzstan in May-June 2013. 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Turkiye_______ channels watched in Bishkek and Osh, In Bishkek the leading channel is Russian Federations state channel ORT with 29.8%. It is followed by NTS/NTV, which also broadcasts programs o f another Russian channel, NTV, with 9.7%. Hie next channel also broadcasts programs o f the Russian television channel TNT with 8.4%. Kyrgyz public television KTR has a share o f only 7.7%. It is followed by a private Kyrgyz television channel EhoManasa. Also in Bishkek the category for “other” television channels has a big share o f 17.8% (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g., “Kyrgyzstan, Media indikatorydlya TV, 2011-2012 gg.,Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”). Table 4: Media Indicator in Bishkek for TV (2012) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g., “Kyrgyzstan, Media indikatorydlya TV, 2011-2012 gg.,Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnildnformatsii”). The table is different than the one for the general audience o f Kyrgyzstan. Despite the fact that one fifth o f the total pop u lation is living in Bishkek, there is a clear differentiation. In the table o f Kyrgyzstan the leading television channel is KTR, which is only the fourth in Bishkek. The third television channel EL TV, which is also a public Kyrgyz channel has no place among the leading eleven channels in Bishkek, as is the public channel for the South, ju st like the fourth channel, 7 Kanal, of the general table, which is a private channel again watched only in the South. Russian television channels, such as ORT, NTS/NTV, RTR, 5Kanal are represented in both lists. In the Southern city of Osh, which is officially acknowledged as the “capital o f the South”, the list is as follows: ORT 25.3%, KTR 16.2%, EL TR 12.8%, Yoshlar 7.2%, 5 Kanal 6.8%, UZ TV 5%, 7 Kanal 3.2%, Piramida 3.1%, Bashat 2.9%, RTR 2.4%, Keremet TV 2.2%, Others 5.5% (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii2012g., “Kyrgyzstan, Media indikatorydlya TV, 2011-2012 gg., Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”). Table 5: Media Indicator in Bishkek for TV (2012) (Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniyaivospriyatiya media auditorii 2012 g , “Kyrgyzstan, Media indikatorydlya TV, 2011-2012 gg.,Samiyvazhniyisamiynadezhniyistochnikinformatsii”) 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Turkiye 1 . U l u s l a r a r a s i M e d y a £ a 11 $ m a 1 a r i S e m p o z y u m u 1 s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l S y m p o s i u m o n M e d i a S t u d i e s Also in Osh the leading television channel is the Russian Federation’s channel one. It is followed by two Kyrgyz public channels. The second KTR is the national channel; the th ird EL TR is the public channel for the South. They are followed by an Uzbek channel broadcasting from Uzbekistan. It is a state channel for youth. The fifth is a Russian channel, which was also on the list ol Bishkek, It is followed by the Uzbek public channel, UZ TV. The next. 7 Kan^I, is a private Southern channel. In the interviews it was argued that it is owned by the leader o f the Atajurt Party, which l§ the main opposition party. Its stronghold is in the South, and they are generally in conflict with the President Atambayev, a Northerner, Although it is one o f the proofs o f democratic government in Kyrgyzstan, the politics based on regionalism can become a factor for instability. This table is also different than the table o f general audience in Kyrgyzstan. This fact shows that in other regions o f Kyrgyzstan other channels enjoy wide popularity, Kyrgyz public television channel KTR is the leading channel in Kyrgyzstan, because it can be watched in a wider territory, and it is the only television channel on this list, which can be watched in some villages away from the city. Still it does not cover all parts of Kyrgyzstan as mentioned above. The reason o f w a tch in g Russian ch a n n e ls is re la te d to th e q u a lity o f th e ir p ro g ram s, q u a lity a n d wid e coverage o f th eir transmission a n d th e g en e ra l k n ow led g e o f Russian as th e first o r s e c o n d lan g u ag e . For th e v a rie ty o f e th n ic g ro u p s in Kyrgyzstan the c om m o n lan g u ag e is Russian. 94.4% of th e Kyrgyz older th a n 15 declared th e ir second lan g u ag e as Russian, an d 0.1% o f th e Kyrgyz de c la red it as th e ir first language . The p e rc e n tag e is am o n g th e Uzbeks 49.2%. In to ta l in Kyrgyzstan 83.6% o f th e p o p u la tio n a ck n ow ledged Russian as th e ir second language . If th e Russian p o p u la tio n (8%) w ith Russian as th e ir first language is a d d e d to th at, th e share o f Russian-speakers exceeds 90% (http://www.stat.kg/stat.files/tematika/fleMorpac|)/Kbiprbi3CTaH%20B%20ijii(})pax/fleMo9.pdf). The Kyrgyz language, on the other hand, is declared by 48.9% o f the Uzbeks and 36.1% o f the Russians as their second language. In the total population Kyrgyz is declared by 10.2% as the second language (http://www.stat.kg/stat.files/tematika/fleMorpacj)/ Ki.ipn>i3CTaH%20B%20ijM4)pax/fleMo9.pdf). Even with the addition o f native Kyrgyz-speakers it is below the Russian language. Therefore not only Russian channels can be watched an d understood by the majority of the population, but also channels in Kyrgyzstan have to produce programs in Russian. They are even willing to produce programs in Russian to reach a wider audience, which pushed the state to force regulations for Kyrgyz language programs. According to interviews the Kyrgyz public television channel is generally watched for the news, but also in this sphere of programs local channels are more popular, especially in the South. The reason for that is the interest o f the general public in local news. In the news local channels broadcast minor b u t local events related to the people or places their audience knows. The politics in the capital is less important for the local people, as they consider it irrelevant in th e ir daily life. It can be an outcome o f the Soviet period, when the ordinary people had no influence on the politics. The continuity o f this apathy to politics is interesting for Kyrgyzstan, because o f the fact that the people o f Kyrgyzstan had successfully overthrown two corrupt and authoritarian presidents. / At times other than*news-hour the audience prefers to watch television serials in other television channels. For these serials in the Southern Kyrgyzstan - neighboring Uzbekistan - Uzbek channels are being watched by most and in the North generally Russian and Kazakh channels’ broadcasts are being watched. Those are generally Turkish and Korean television serials. Recently Kyrgyz public television channel also broadcasts a Turkish television serial, w hich increased its popularity. Next year other Turkish television serials are planned to be shown on national Kyrgyz television channel with sponsorship, which will further increase their popularity. In addition to television serials new movies are very popular. They are mainly watched on Russian television channels. Copyright laws are n o t effective in Russia, and Russian television channels freely show recent movies. There is also a local television channel in the South (Batken region), which shows recent Hollywood movies on pirated CD’s dubbed in Russian, which increases its popularity. This is one o f the examples, how local channels increase th e ir audience and fragment the national indicators. The influence o f foreign media is also manifested in cable televisions. There are two significant cable television companies. The main Kyrgyz cable television Ala-Tv has 70 channels on its optimum package. Only six of them are from Kyrgyzstan, while most of them are in Russian. 58 channels are Russian channels, three English (CNN, Fashion Channel and a music channel), one Kazakh, one Indian and one Ukrainian (http://alatv.lcg/tsifrovoe_tv/paket_optimalnyj). Some o f the Russian channels are actually US channels broadcasting in Russian; some o f the Russian channels show latest Hollywood movies (without commercial rights). During the Soviet period Russian was the language to contact the world - in addition to being the interethnic language. Today Russian still maintains this status in media. The situation with the other cable television company Aknet is similar. It has eight Kyrgyz channels out o f 81 Television channels on its broadest package. There is a Turkish, Indian, Tatar, Belorussian channel as well, but most the channels are Russian Conclusion Thegeographicallydivided te rritory created a fragmented society in the past. It was further strengthened with the migration of different ethnic groups to Kyrgyzstan. This fragmentation is also manifested in th e media. This geographical feature is the main fac- _______________________________________________ 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Turkiye_______________________ l . U l u s l a r a r a s i M e d y a C^al i $ m a 1 a r 1 S e m p o z y u m u - 1 s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l S y m p o s i u m o n M e d i a S t u d i e s torfor the weakness o f nation-wide coverage of th e media. It also hampers the development of an understanding o f citizenship to the recent nation-state. The cleavage between the North and th e South is also reproduced through local media.Additionally m ountains build barriers for the national broadcasts. The cities in South lie on a valley (Fergana) open to Uzbekistan, and in the North they lie on valleys open to Kazakhstan. Apart from the problem with the coverage o f Kyrgyz media, these valleys have better access to the media of neighboring countries. Because o f the fact that wide majority o f the population is living on these valleys, m ost o f the p opulation enjoys high-quality access to foreign m edia. It was determined that this reached to a level that some th in k that their president the Russian President Putin or Uzbek President Karimov.5This failure should n o t be exaggerated but it is also true that many people follow Russian, Uzbek or Kazakh channels more than Kyrgyz channels. A result o f watching news on Russian channels was m anifested at the overthrow o f President Bakiyev (2010). A lthough Bakiyev had sought to apply sanctions to suppress the Kyrgyz media, he could n o t stop Russian broadcasting, w hen they started to show files about Bakiyevs corrupt affairs. In this global world the access to Russian channels and Russian knowledge affects the sovereignty of the Kyrgyz state in a useful way. It showed, however, the influence o f foreign media at its most. It seems that the reinforcement of communication infrastructure is very crucial for Kyrgyzstan. The state faces many tasks to build an independent and sustainable Kyrgyzstan. Media is one o f the factors creating some belonging for the citizens to a common land, shared problems and quest for solution. The society as a unified body with differences and in plurality can be achieved through media. Kyrgyzstan has covered a long way until founding a pluralistic, democratic political structure with division of power, which suits well to the multifaceted society of Kyrgyzstan. Together with the pluralistic and representative democratic system media can help to the representation o f different ideas an d expectations b u t under th e common ro o f o f the Kyrgyz Republic. References Anderson, B. (1991).Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread o f Nationalism(Revised and extended, ed.). London: Verso. Kyrgyzstan, Issledovaniye, povedeniya i vospriyatiyamediaauditorii 2012 g.. (2012)Kompaniya M-Vector. Osmonov, A. O. (2006). Kirgiz RespublikasininfizikalikgeografiyasyOrtomekteptin 8-klassi ucunokuukitebi.Bi$kek: Uchkun. In te rn e t Sources: Aknet. Retrieved fromhttp://www.aknet.kg/fiIes/channel/family.html. Ala-TV. TVIR .Retrieved fromhttp://alatv.kg/tsifrovoe tv/paket optimalnyj/. Internet World Stats, UsageandPopulationStatistics. Asia Inte rnet Use, Population Data and Facebook Statistics. Retrieved fromhttp:// www.internetworldstats.com/stats3.htm. MingKyal FM. Retrieved fromhttp://old.ktrk.kg/kyr/index.php?do=cat&category=mi-kyyal-fm. NatsionalniyStatisticheskiyKomitetKyrgyzskoyRespubliki. 9 Tab. Vtonmyazikom. Retrieved from NatsionalniyStatisticheskiyKornitetKyrgyzskoyRespubliki. Natsionalnosteipoterritorii. Retrieved from h ttp://www.stat.kg/stat.files/tematika/neMorpa(|)/Kbiprbi3CTaH%20B%20uM4>pax/iieMo6.pdf. Odnoklasniki. MingKyal FM. Retrieved from http://www.odnoldassniki.ru/group/56287880085567. PrezidentKirgizkoyRespubliki. Retrieved fromhttp://www.president.kg. Shimomura, N. (2008). KyrgyzRepublicBishkek-Osh Road RehabilitationProjects (I) (II). FieldSurvey, September 2008.Retrieved from http://www.jica.go.jp/english/operations/evaluation/oda loan/post/2009/pdf/kyrgyz01.pdf. 5 The false information about the p resident o f Kyrgyzstan is a common example told by the c itizens o f Kyrgyzstan. It is related to an interview on the Kyrgyz television, when a b oy from Kyrgyzstan named the Uzbek president as his - Kyrgyzstan’s - president. ________________________________________________ 20 - 23 Kasim/November Antalya/Tiirkiye____________________________ E H i

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