Elif Asude Tunca
The Mass Media is the most important public organiser as well as a source of active power not only in democratic environments but also in countries going through the process of democratisation. The collapse of the USSR revealed that the media was used by the political structure in the Soviet bloc as a means of propaganda at the service of existing economic and social policy structures. After the independence of these states, mass media changed for the purpose of informing and forming societies within a democratic frame, and now have an influence on societies that think and criticize. In other words we see the mass media, which not only has an important role in the interactive structure of informing the society but also being directed by society. In the two years of independence through late 1993, Kyrgyzstan’s newspapers enjoyed the most freedom compared to any of the Central Asian nations. Newspapers were able to discuss issues of public interest closely, in spite of the power of a state censorship committee which required submission of materials in advance of publication. But since 1993, the government has moved to impose greater control over access to news and its production resources. Besides the attempts of the government to impose control over the media, the Kyrgyz media have begun to face and suffer many economic and technical problems, i.e. insufficient technical supplies; financial and modernisation problems in accordance with the demands of time and audience; and adaptation into the new order arising in the country. In light of the above mentioned problems, it is important to survey the outlook of journalism students – the potential employees of Kyrgyz media – and their perception of the media. This paper identifies and questions the points of view of students enrolled in Kyrgyzstan’s Journalism Faculties/Departments about the role of media in the development of democracy and the process of democratisation in their country. The problems of the Kyrgyz media – after the collapse of the Soviet Union – will be identified and questioned. A field survey was done among the students of all eight Journalism Departments/Faculties in the country.
Keywords: Perception of democracy, Kyrgyz media, journalism departments/ faculties in Kyrgyzstan