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The 8th Caspian Media Forum: history, value, outlook

photo: media-caspy.astrobl.ru
16 September 2023

On 18-19 September 2023, in Astrakhan the traditional 8th Caspian Media Forum will take place. This year, the main topic of the Forum will be «Public diplomacy and social media as a factor of peoplesТ rapprochement». The Astrakhan Regional Government is the organizer of the event with the support of the RF President Executive Office, the RF Foreign Affairs Ministry and the RF Ministry of Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media.

The participants of the Forum are experts, journalists, bloggers, photographers and government authoritiesТ representatives. The traditional guests of the Forum are delegations from the Caspian countries Ц the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Belarus, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Delegations from Uzbekistan have been the traditional participants of this event for several years. The Forum agenda includes discussions and panel sessions on various topics in the sphere of information policy.

Igor Babushkin, the Governor of the Astrakhan Region, will open the plenary session dedicated to the role of media in strengthening mutual understanding and cooperation between the Caspian countries. Deputy Editor-in-Chief of TASS information agency Alexey Kharnas will be the moderator. The speakers are Evgeniy Primakov, Head of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), Bella Cherkesova, Deputy RF Minister for Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media, Andrei Bystritsky, Chair of the Board of the Foundation for development and support of Valdai international discussion club, Radik Bartyshin, Chair of MIR International telecom corporation, and others.

Traditionally, the awards for the best journalist material «the Caspian Region without Borders» will be given out at the Media Forum.

TASS information agency is the general information partner of the Forum.

The story of the Caspian Media Forum idea conception and implementation

The 8th Caspian Media Forum is a reason to remember, how it all started, who were the pioneers of this important event for the entire Caspian Region, and were the results of annual meetings of the Caspian media representatives along with the tasks for this integration platform in the long-run.

The 1st Caspian Media Forum was organized in 2015. It hosted more than 200 guests from the Caspian countries, who discussed international cooperation in the sphere of information exchange.

The Astrakhan Regional Government headed by Alexander Zhilkin, the ex-Governor, is to praise for initiating the setup of this discussion platform.

The decision about hosting the 1st Caspian Media Forum was made in February 2015 after the meeting between Alexander Zhilkin and Sergey Lavrov, the RF Minister of Foreign Affairs, due to the need for broader coverage of the issues of economy, environment, education, healthcare and culture of the Caspian countries and their interaction, including in the mass media sphere. The Media Forum became a logical continuation of the agreement achieved in 2014 by the heads of the Caspian states at the 4th Summit of the Caspian states held in Astrakhan.

The 1st Media Forum took place on 17-20 September 2015. During these four days it hosted public lectures, working sessions on modern information exchange technologies, on media specialists training and creation of a single media space of the Caspian Region. The ceremony of the Caspian Dream international contest awards was also part of the Forum.

The positive outcomes of the first Forum served the grounds for making this platform a regular one, so from then the Media Forums were held annually. Astrakhan became the host city, as the idea of such Media Forum was conceived there. 

At different times, the main topics of the Caspian Media Forum were various relevant spheres of media cooperation between the Caspian countries. They include «Caspian media. Younger generation», «Caspian information agenda: society, politics, security», «Tourism and ethnical-cultural communications in media sphere», «Travel journalism, cultural codes, enlightening media», etc.

Such a broad dispersion of discussion agendas inside the media community allowed for the specialists to significantly broaden their understanding and knowledge about each other, to find common topics for joint preparation of information materials and eventually contribute to prepare the situation when the Caspian countries residents could feel themselves as part of the unified region with common history and concurrent traditions.

A big number of joint events were carried out, many agreements were signed about cooperation in the sphere of information, the exchange of content was setup between printed and electronic media of partnering states. The Caspian editorial office started working, and now it is the basis for media planning; the Caspian Region news is produced, quick exchange of information about emergency situations and important political events was fine-tuned.

The representation at the Forum continues to be very impressive, and that is another evidence of its importance. In various years, Ambassadors and Consuls, line Ministers and heads of the respective agencies, editors-in-chief of major regional media (both state-owned and private) visited this major Caspian media event.

According to the tradition, Sergey Lavrov, the RF Foreign Affairs Minister addresses the guests with a welcoming speech. Usually, the diplomats directly engaged in the Caspian agenda read LavrovТs speech. In various years they included Igor Bratchikov, special envoy of the RF President on the Caspian Sea, Ambassador-at-large, Maria Zakharova, the Director of Information and Media Department, official representative of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and others.

One of the spin-offs of the Caspian Media Forums was forming the unified expert community of the Caspian Region, which was reflected in establishing the Caspian expert club. Many meetings took place at the sidelines of the Forum, where expert community representatives discussed not only the regional media agenda, but also relevant geopolitical and economic issues, the situation in the security sphere, as well as important aspects of the penta-lateral cooperation of the Caspian countries.

For example, after signing the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, the experts arriving to the Forum took part in the round-table discussion on the topic «The Caspian Region is the territory of the Future», where they discussed the outlook for cooperation between the Caspian countries in the context of signing the Caspian Constitution, which allowed for expanding the understanding of relevant problems and integration issues, which the countries will be facing in the long-run.

The Caspian Media Form platform is an attractive venue for implementing different projects of international cultural and humanitarian interaction. Rossotrudnichestvo chose it for regular seminars for young representatives of political, grassroots, research and business communities in FSU area «The new generation», where the participants may learn about Russian practices and modern trends of journalism development, visit master-classes and meetings with the experts of the Higher School of Economics, RT, print and electronic media.

Evgeniy Primakov, who participated in the Media Forum, emphasized the importance of such events and their positive effect for the development of educational and cultural interaction of the Caspian countries.

Caspian media. Younger generation

In advance of the 8th Media Forum, we should remember the highlights of the previous Forum, which also took place in Astrakhan and was dedicated to the younger generation and its role in the Caspian media.

The 7th Media Forum hosted the traditional plenary session and the discussion platforms «Business journalism and business communications», «Caspian League of travel journalists and opinion leaders», «Media in the youth policy of the Caspian countries», «New time for diplomacy» and others. The media convent «Analytical journalism of today» was held on the sidelines of the Media Forum and was dedicated to discussing the media agenda of the Caspian Region, the specifics, methods and techniques of analytical journalism.

Maria Zakharova, the representative of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered an online speech and emphasized that this platform had steadily covered the path from an informal discussion platform for communications professionals in the time of such unique project as the Caspian editorial office to a major international event for the countries of the region.

In her opinion, such evolution is totally in line with multi-faceted partnerships, which are getting stronger from year to year in the spirit of friendship and good neighborly relations, which was highlighted by the Presidents of the Caspian Five during their 6th Summit in Ashkhabad on 29 June 2022.

«Today, Media Forum provides the opportunity for hundreds of journalists, politicians, experts and opinion leaders to discuss in detail the most meaningful trends in the global information agenda, which are reflected in the mass-media interaction in the Region», the official representative of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized in her speech. Ц «It is especially important nowadays, when the global media coverage is subject to corrosion due to the unprecedented media-aggression of the collective West against Russia. This Media Forum platform includes a great number of constructive initiatives and is a tangible evidence of «all-weather» cooperation within the Caspian Five».

It is remarkable that Farshad Mehdipur, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran, was the honorary guest at the 7th Media Forum. Delivering his welcoming speech at the ceremonial opening of the Forum, he emphasized the high level of political, economic and trade relations between the Caspian countries. The representative of Teheran called on the Forum participants not only to be satisfied with the achievements but keep going together targeting at the improvement of such relations actively using the media capabilities.

On the sidelines of the Forum, Farshad Mehdipur talked about the training of young journalists in Iran and about the topics they chose. He informed that various measures of supporting culture and mass media were being taken in his country.

During the 7th Media Forum Farshad Mehdipur had a meeting with the Bella Cherkesova, the Deputy RF Minister of Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media. The parties discussed a series of relevant issues and agreed to continue the joint efforts in the sphere of communications and information technologies.

Caspian Media Forum Ц the importance and outlook

Hence, the conclusion may be made about strong interest on behalf of media and expert communities, as well as the government authorities of the Caspian countries to the Caspian Media Forum, which provides opportunities for establishing partnerships, understanding the Caspian agenda, the objectives, the strengths and weaknesses of regional integration.

The establishment of the Caspian Media Forum reflects the strive for good-quality media coverage of the big-scale regional Caspian integration project. The Caspian Sea is often called the area of friendship and big opportunities. The regional media can make a valuable contribution into preserving this status.

During almost ten years of the Caspian Media Forum story, the productive atmosphere was developed along with efficiently working professional connections and joint projects. Professional upgrading and mastering new information technologies are always in the focus of the attention.

Currently, the cooperation in the Caspian region is progressing to a higher level. The Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea is gradually being implemented. New penta-lateral documents on cooperation are being developed and signed. Joint major investment projects are being brought to life. In connection with this, the 8th Caspian Media Forum will become the next meaningful contribution into deepening the mutual trust and understanding in the media environment of the Caspian countries and their neighbors.

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Publications

The 8th Caspian Media Forum: history, value, outlook

photo: media-caspy.astrobl.ru
16 сент€бр€ 2023

On 18-19 September 2023, in Astrakhan the traditional 8th Caspian Media Forum will take place. This year, the main topic of the Forum will be «Public diplomacy and social media as a factor of peoplesТ rapprochement». The Astrakhan Regional Government is the organizer of the event with the support of the RF President Executive Office, the RF Foreign Affairs Ministry and the RF Ministry of Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media.

The participants of the Forum are experts, journalists, bloggers, photographers and government authoritiesТ representatives. The traditional guests of the Forum are delegations from the Caspian countries Ц the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Turkmenistan, the Republic of Belarus, and the Republic of Uzbekistan. Delegations from Uzbekistan have been the traditional participants of this event for several years. The Forum agenda includes discussions and panel sessions on various topics in the sphere of information policy.

Igor Babushkin, the Governor of the Astrakhan Region, will open the plenary session dedicated to the role of media in strengthening mutual understanding and cooperation between the Caspian countries. Deputy Editor-in-Chief of TASS information agency Alexey Kharnas will be the moderator. The speakers are Evgeniy Primakov, Head of the Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), Bella Cherkesova, Deputy RF Minister for Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media, Andrei Bystritsky, Chair of the Board of the Foundation for development and support of Valdai international discussion club, Radik Bartyshin, Chair of MIR International telecom corporation, and others.

Traditionally, the awards for the best journalist material «the Caspian Region without Borders» will be given out at the Media Forum.

TASS information agency is the general information partner of the Forum.

The story of the Caspian Media Forum idea conception and implementation

The 8th Caspian Media Forum is a reason to remember, how it all started, who were the pioneers of this important event for the entire Caspian Region, and were the results of annual meetings of the Caspian media representatives along with the tasks for this integration platform in the long-run.

The 1st Caspian Media Forum was organized in 2015. It hosted more than 200 guests from the Caspian countries, who discussed international cooperation in the sphere of information exchange.

The Astrakhan Regional Government headed by Alexander Zhilkin, the ex-Governor, is to praise for initiating the setup of this discussion platform.

The decision about hosting the 1st Caspian Media Forum was made in February 2015 after the meeting between Alexander Zhilkin and Sergey Lavrov, the RF Minister of Foreign Affairs, due to the need for broader coverage of the issues of economy, environment, education, healthcare and culture of the Caspian countries and their interaction, including in the mass media sphere. The Media Forum became a logical continuation of the agreement achieved in 2014 by the heads of the Caspian states at the 4th Summit of the Caspian states held in Astrakhan.

The 1st Media Forum took place on 17-20 September 2015. During these four days it hosted public lectures, working sessions on modern information exchange technologies, on media specialists training and creation of a single media space of the Caspian Region. The ceremony of the Caspian Dream international contest awards was also part of the Forum.

The positive outcomes of the first Forum served the grounds for making this platform a regular one, so from then the Media Forums were held annually. Astrakhan became the host city, as the idea of such Media Forum was conceived there. 

At different times, the main topics of the Caspian Media Forum were various relevant spheres of media cooperation between the Caspian countries. They include «Caspian media. Younger generation», «Caspian information agenda: society, politics, security», «Tourism and ethnical-cultural communications in media sphere», «Travel journalism, cultural codes, enlightening media», etc.

Such a broad dispersion of discussion agendas inside the media community allowed for the specialists to significantly broaden their understanding and knowledge about each other, to find common topics for joint preparation of information materials and eventually contribute to prepare the situation when the Caspian countries residents could feel themselves as part of the unified region with common history and concurrent traditions.

A big number of joint events were carried out, many agreements were signed about cooperation in the sphere of information, the exchange of content was setup between printed and electronic media of partnering states. The Caspian editorial office started working, and now it is the basis for media planning; the Caspian Region news is produced, quick exchange of information about emergency situations and important political events was fine-tuned.

The representation at the Forum continues to be very impressive, and that is another evidence of its importance. In various years, Ambassadors and Consuls, line Ministers and heads of the respective agencies, editors-in-chief of major regional media (both state-owned and private) visited this major Caspian media event.

According to the tradition, Sergey Lavrov, the RF Foreign Affairs Minister addresses the guests with a welcoming speech. Usually, the diplomats directly engaged in the Caspian agenda read LavrovТs speech. In various years they included Igor Bratchikov, special envoy of the RF President on the Caspian Sea, Ambassador-at-large, Maria Zakharova, the Director of Information and Media Department, official representative of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and others.

One of the spin-offs of the Caspian Media Forums was forming the unified expert community of the Caspian Region, which was reflected in establishing the Caspian expert club. Many meetings took place at the sidelines of the Forum, where expert community representatives discussed not only the regional media agenda, but also relevant geopolitical and economic issues, the situation in the security sphere, as well as important aspects of the penta-lateral cooperation of the Caspian countries.

For example, after signing the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, the experts arriving to the Forum took part in the round-table discussion on the topic «The Caspian Region is the territory of the Future», where they discussed the outlook for cooperation between the Caspian countries in the context of signing the Caspian Constitution, which allowed for expanding the understanding of relevant problems and integration issues, which the countries will be facing in the long-run.

The Caspian Media Form platform is an attractive venue for implementing different projects of international cultural and humanitarian interaction. Rossotrudnichestvo chose it for regular seminars for young representatives of political, grassroots, research and business communities in FSU area «The new generation», where the participants may learn about Russian practices and modern trends of journalism development, visit master-classes and meetings with the experts of the Higher School of Economics, RT, print and electronic media.

Evgeniy Primakov, who participated in the Media Forum, emphasized the importance of such events and their positive effect for the development of educational and cultural interaction of the Caspian countries.

Caspian media. Younger generation

In advance of the 8th Media Forum, we should remember the highlights of the previous Forum, which also took place in Astrakhan and was dedicated to the younger generation and its role in the Caspian media.

The 7th Media Forum hosted the traditional plenary session and the discussion platforms «Business journalism and business communications», «Caspian League of travel journalists and opinion leaders», «Media in the youth policy of the Caspian countries», «New time for diplomacy» and others. The media convent «Analytical journalism of today» was held on the sidelines of the Media Forum and was dedicated to discussing the media agenda of the Caspian Region, the specifics, methods and techniques of analytical journalism.

Maria Zakharova, the representative of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivered an online speech and emphasized that this platform had steadily covered the path from an informal discussion platform for communications professionals in the time of such unique project as the Caspian editorial office to a major international event for the countries of the region.

In her opinion, such evolution is totally in line with multi-faceted partnerships, which are getting stronger from year to year in the spirit of friendship and good neighborly relations, which was highlighted by the Presidents of the Caspian Five during their 6th Summit in Ashkhabad on 29 June 2022.

«Today, Media Forum provides the opportunity for hundreds of journalists, politicians, experts and opinion leaders to discuss in detail the most meaningful trends in the global information agenda, which are reflected in the mass-media interaction in the Region», the official representative of the RF Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized in her speech. Ц «It is especially important nowadays, when the global media coverage is subject to corrosion due to the unprecedented media-aggression of the collective West against Russia. This Media Forum platform includes a great number of constructive initiatives and is a tangible evidence of «all-weather» cooperation within the Caspian Five».

It is remarkable that Farshad Mehdipur, the Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran, was the honorary guest at the 7th Media Forum. Delivering his welcoming speech at the ceremonial opening of the Forum, he emphasized the high level of political, economic and trade relations between the Caspian countries. The representative of Teheran called on the Forum participants not only to be satisfied with the achievements but keep going together targeting at the improvement of such relations actively using the media capabilities.

On the sidelines of the Forum, Farshad Mehdipur talked about the training of young journalists in Iran and about the topics they chose. He informed that various measures of supporting culture and mass media were being taken in his country.

During the 7th Media Forum Farshad Mehdipur had a meeting with the Bella Cherkesova, the Deputy RF Minister of Digital Technology, Communication and Mass Media. The parties discussed a series of relevant issues and agreed to continue the joint efforts in the sphere of communications and information technologies.

Caspian Media Forum Ц the importance and outlook

Hence, the conclusion may be made about strong interest on behalf of media and expert communities, as well as the government authorities of the Caspian countries to the Caspian Media Forum, which provides opportunities for establishing partnerships, understanding the Caspian agenda, the objectives, the strengths and weaknesses of regional integration.

The establishment of the Caspian Media Forum reflects the strive for good-quality media coverage of the big-scale regional Caspian integration project. The Caspian Sea is often called the area of friendship and big opportunities. The regional media can make a valuable contribution into preserving this status.

During almost ten years of the Caspian Media Forum story, the productive atmosphere was developed along with efficiently working professional connections and joint projects. Professional upgrading and mastering new information technologies are always in the focus of the attention.

Currently, the cooperation in the Caspian region is progressing to a higher level. The Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea is gradually being implemented. New penta-lateral documents on cooperation are being developed and signed. Joint major investment projects are being brought to life. In connection with this, the 8th Caspian Media Forum will become the next meaningful contribution into deepening the mutual trust and understanding in the media environment of the Caspian countries and their neighbors.