ASTANA – The representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro is on a visit to Kazakhstan on Nov. 13-15, announced Kazakh Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Aibek Smadiyarov at a Nov. 13 press briefing, reported the ministry’s press service.
On Nov. 13, Ribeiro met with Minister of Culture and Information Aida Balayeva. Balayeva provided an overview of the ministry’s main activities in culture, creative industries and youth policy.
Balayeva highlighted the measures taken in Kazakhstan to foster free and independent media, improve regulatory frameworks, and introduce legislative changes to protect freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
“A legislative project called On Mass Media has been developed in line with UN and OSCE international practices to redefine conceptual frameworks, elevate the status of media, reform mechanisms for financing state information policy, and review registration principles, introducing new principles such as guarantee of freedom of speech, respect for private life, and equal access to information. Preserving and advancing freedom of speech is a priority in the state policy,” said Balayeva.
Ribeiro stressed the importance of involving civil society representatives in the discussion of media law to ensure more inclusive decision-making.
“I assure you that the legislative review conducted is the first step in our productive cooperation in this direction. Our meeting is an opportunity to continue the dialogue and exchange ideas in media freedom,” she said.
Ribeiro noted an innovation in the media law project – introducing press cards. She emphasized the role of the press card institution in simplifying the accreditation process for journalists, contingent on the establishment of an independent body for issuing them.
“This is an alternative way that significantly facilitates the accreditation of journalists. I am very pleased that the OSCE understands that this is not a means of limiting the media,” said Balayeva.
On the same day, Ribeiro met with Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko. The meeting focused on the media sector and its role in establishing a secure information environment in Kazakhstan, emphasizing the ongoing collaboration between the country and OSCE to enhance journalistic standards.
The sides agreed to maintain a constructive dialogue aimed at developing and ensuring the sustainable functioning and safety of Kazakhstan’s information space.