Kazakh-Language Bloggers Discuss Prospects for Kaznet

SHYMKENT – Shymkent hosted on March 23-24 the third kurultai of Kazakh-language bloggers to discuss the development of the domestic blogosphere and Kaznet in the state language of the country.

The kurultai (“meeting” or “assembly”) of bloggers, BlogCamp, is not just a meeting but a congress of supporters, a popular form of meeting for representatives of new media. The organisers of the kurultai emphasised that BlogCamp does not pursue any commercial benefit and is certainly not a political campaign.

A total of 370 participants, including administrators of websites, IT specialists and active Internet users, arrived in Shymkent from different regions of the country to discuss such issues as the growth of the Kazakh-language content on the Internet, improving sites and portals and the observance of moral and ethical standards when operating in the virtual word.

“The most topical issue on the agenda is quality,” one organiser of the event, Daniyar Alan, said. “Moderators and users are facing a challenge not just to keep pace with modern trends, but also to more consciously perceive and observe ethical norms. In the virtual world there is no supervisor who gives advice on how and what to write. Everything depends on the conscience of every user, his desire to adhere to the rules and regulations.”

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Akim (Governor) of the South Kazakhstan region Askar Myrzakhmetov stressed that Kaznet is now developing rapidly but that’s no reason to be satisfied with what has already been achieved.

The issue of creating content and increasing the number of websites in the state language today is not such a critical problem as it was during the first kurultai. Over the past few years, the number of websites in the state language has considerably increased, as has their quality. A website based in the city of Shymkent and created in a question and answer format is ranked among the top 10 sites of Kazakhstan, which is a significant success.

Today there are about 300 blogs in Kazakh. However, the proportion of sites registered under the domain “.kz” is just nine percent of the informational space of Kazakhstan.

In addition, there are Internet users residing outside Kazakhstan, in countries such as China, Mongolia, and in parts of Europe, who also write blogs in the Kazakh language and thereby actively participate in the development of Kazakh content online.

The organisers of the meeting believe that working alone, they cannot reach their goals, because they often go unheard. There is a need, they feel, to create a special platform that can unite all Kazakh bloggers. This format will provide them with an opportunity to develop their initiatives.

The progress of information technologies now also contributes to the development of freedom of speech.

“The Internet is the main platform for the exchange of views and ideas that could not be aired on published and broadcast mass media in the state language,” said blogger Nurgis Salybekov. “For a long time on a subconscious level there was a certain taboo about political topics in the official language. And I’m not talking about a destructive approach in the discussion of issues. I think that many writers and public figures are beginning much more to dare express their thoughts and opinions. I’m sure this will affect the consciousness and erudition of Kazakh youth.”

The virtual world has a huge real-world base among teenagers and young adults. Ideological work with them is necessary. It was decided to hold such meetings annually, alternating meeting sites among regional centres. The result of this kurultai was the exchange of experiences and ideas and new projects that will be launched in Kazakhstan.