Statement of Elena Panova at the Round table on Improving the Work of Mass Media in Turkmenistan

Jan 24, 2017

24 January 2017

MFA

Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to participate in the roundtable on behalf of UNDP together with colleagues from other agencies. UNDP supports initiatives aiming at promotion of the positive change and we are glad that Turkmenistan pays a lot of attention to the questions of mass media development.

Rapid advancements in technology and information are the hallmark of this era. From the radio to the internet, there is more information available on this planet than has ever been the case.

The impact of technology on our societies is profound. Communities and individuals, through mobile technology, are more aware of developments in their countries and across the world. They are in a better position to communicate with each other, to share ideas, and to make a difference. Social media has revolutionized the way conversations take place in the digital age.

The news media, through its reporting function, has a fundamental role to play in spreading data, ideas, thus making societies more inclusive, holding institutions to account, and ensuring civic education and collective action result in tangible progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Responding to this call, new technologies have given rise to ground-breaking new forms of journalism, based on real-time reporting and multimedia content.

Let me give you a few numbers. The Daily Telegraph estimates that we receive five times more information today than we did in 1986. On average, due to the incredible growth of the internet, people read 100,000 words per day (International Journal of Communication). Further, visual information is progressing at an unprecedented pace. Since 2007 for instance, the use of infographics in newspapers increased by 9,900 percent.

A diverse, independent and professional media corps is a vital pillar of democratic societies. It is a precondition for establishing a healthy dialogue, for promoting stability and cohesion and for strengthening the social fabric of nations. His Excellency Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who works closely with the media in Turkmenistan, has taken this issue to heart and repeatedly emphasized the importance of media development.

 

Let me now identify a few areas in which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works with media.

1.       We provide technical support and training to enable media and journalists to participate in democratization processes, for example covering elections or fighting corruption;

2.       We raise awareness of essential issues linked to peace and stability in conflict-prone countries, providing gender trainings and teaching reporters how to tackle sensitive topics;

3.       We empower media to fight disease and natural disasters, working with broadcasters to disseminate life-saving information;

4.       We work with media to spread the word about the Sustainable Development Goals, creating partnerships, and changing behaviors on the ground.

In Moldova, UNDP has been working with young investigative journalists to expose issues of corruption, In Kosovo, we worked with the press corps to develop data journalism, using information that is now publicly available and crowdsourced. In Georgia, with funds from the European Union, UNDP helped civil society organizations to monitor media performance during the parliamentary elections. The initiative contributed to the development of media diversity and journalistic standards, and to building watchdog functions in the citizenry.

In Turkmenistan, we use mass media and new media tools to raise awareness of development issues. These include fighting stigma against TB patients and persons with disabilities. Media is a very powerful tool in this processes because it reaches millions of people with information that is game-changing.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me proudly remind you that Turkmenistan was one of the first country to formally adopt the Sustainable Development Goals.

The media in this country is going to be crucial in reaching the SDGs. It would be impossible to achieve real impact without a news media that is able to identify key development issues, to help measure progress towards each goal and indicator, and to rally people around development issues, including promoting equality and justice for all and supporting protection of human rights.

We have undertaken a few steps to make media an ally and to promote its development. In 2016, UNDP stepped up its film-making. For that we have invited UNDP expert who provided a lecture on script writing and idea development and an on-ground training for the journalists and the operators of the national TV channel “Turkmenistan” on shooting, staging and editing of the documentary movie. As a result, we have produced a documentary on results of UNDP project on climate change.

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we embark into the SDGs implementation, media must continually strive for higher expertise, ask the questions that matter, and analyze issues with shrewdness and insight. And it must encourage every one of us to contribute to making the SDGs in Turkmenistan a success.

The same principle applies in 2017. Preparation for the V Asian Indoor and Martial Games includes creating of the multimedia projects exciting people about the upcoming sports competitions. It also includes professional training for the hundreds of the local professionals in live coverage of the games. The games will also attract international journalists who are willing to share their experience and skills.

In the year of “Health and Inspiration”, I encourage everyone to take an opportunity to reflect on all the good and positive experiences and share them widely. UNDP will continue supporting the Government of Turkmenistan on its path towards development and implementation of the global development agenda. I also I would like to encourage everyone present here to unite our efforts to help the media in Turkmenistan become an agent of development and peace.

Thank you.

Contact information

Nazik Myradova
Communications Associate
E-mail: nazik.myradova@undp.org