April 3 the special Presidential Election will take place in Kazakhstan. Four candidates are making a claim for the post: the acting president Nursultan Nazarbaev, Senator Gani Kasimov, a candidate from the Communist Party Djambyl Ahmetbekov and ecologist Mels Elusizov.
Election campaign starts from March 3.
Systematical monitoring of the mass-media coverage is provided by the International Fund for Protection of Freedom of Speech “Adil Soz”.
The project is supported by the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan and Freedom House International Organization. The project’s goal is to present the unprejudiced mass-media coverage picture of the election preparations.
Public broadcasting companies
The evening news showed public figures activities. Journalists are making an accent on the candidates’ successes and achievements.
Example of broadcasting hours timing on the election theme:
- 34,4% are given to election holding general questions;
- 29% has N.Nazarbaev and the “Nur Otan”party. Moreover that all information could be considered positive or neutral;
- 19,5% are held by D.Ahmedbekov and the Communist people’s party of Kazakhstan;
- 14% has M.Elusizov and Tabigat Ecological Union of Associations and Enterprises”;
- 2,9% are used by G. Kasimov and Kazakhstan Patriots’ Party;
Nationwide private broadcasting companies
Private broadcasters however were focusing more on Central Election Commission activities, candidates’ opinions and, of course, registration issues. But the information was as well neutral or slightly negative.
National public newspapers
The focus of their attention was turned to formal public affairs, accenting more on making President’s and his team’s positive image. The prime example to this was, of course, regional media.
99% of “Aktiubinskii Vestnik” issue pages were given to N. Nazarbaev press-conference. Remaining 1% was given to CEC publications.
More diversified information on the election preparations could be found in private magazines. Some of them published critical reviews. For example, the outgiving of Rahat Aliev, former president’s son-in-law, on the subject of the secret agreement, made with China, to give some of the Kazakhstan land for continuous usage, pre-election campaigning issues etc. However the information was again mostly neutral or slightly negative except, probably, for “Voice of the Republic” gazette.
First day of monitoring has shown a boss-eyed approach of the political figures coverage. Most broadcasting companies preferred to give out only neutral or positive information on political forces alignment, pointing out the election outcome predeterminacy.
It seems that the shoo-in was determined even before elections had started. That’s probably why candidates’ treatment was mostly balanced and well judged.
In whole, mass-media cannot yet play the role of the tribune for public debates, disputes, investigations and comments.
The source: www.adilsoz.kz