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Does the mass media have an impact on the processes occurring in the country? Is it the fourth power?

 Prepared by Alia Sultanova

Undoubtedly, the press has the impact on the processes occurring in the country because at least it can draw attention of the society to any problem. Such impact is closely related with the confidence in particular press company. For example, breach of the society’s confidence can lead to situation when the mass media will stop affecting any processes. Discussing it, I remember the statement of a skeptic (Tihonravov Yuri Vladimirovich, the candidate of philosophic science): “I think I can be confident that strikes on the keys will make letters on the screen, but I cannot imagine at all what effect my text will produce in the heads of my readers.”
I think that by studying the interrelation between the texts and the effect that they produced in the heads of the readers or audience, one can learn to affect some processes. Isn’t it the instrument that advertisers use so actively?!

The role of the press in democratic and constitutional state is extremely important. Formation of civil society without participation of citizens in these processes is impossible. The press and society are the only source that can make all the processes in the country transparent.
Of course, the processes of democratization are occurring in the country not at the desired pace, however they are going on. We have oppositional press, although in the presence of overwhelming number of state-controlled media. Basically, the one-sided information is the misinformation. Unclear situation is a nutrient medium for corruption; therefore, the press should become the fourth power! If we want to have civil society, the press should affect the processes in the country. In my opinion, it should be in the center of all the processes occurring in the state, it should inform about all types of matters objectively and as much as possible; moreover, it should be propagandist in vital questions, it should form legal culture and promote the arrangement of conditions to increase the civil responsibility of the community.

Having considered the question thoroughly, I think that the press in Kazakhstan doesn’t affect the processes but performs:
1) auxiliary functions for solution or strategic defense of interests of a group of stockholders.
2) signaling and preventive functions of the administrative power.

Therefore, the press cannot be considered as the fourth power due to:
1) its weakness in resource, professionalism, legality and popularity.
2) its attachment to the interests of stockholders depending on state.

I have no doubts that Kazakhstani press has an influence on what occurs in the country. However, it doesn’t mean that it has become the fourth power in our country. The point is that the press in Kazakhstan is just an instrument in the hands of different groups pursuing the political aims. In other words, the dispersing of information with electronic or printing facilities is not the end goal in itself for their owners. (I’m not talking about the press with the major aim of profiting on commercial and entertaining information). This is where the tendentiousness of many materials comes from. Even those editions and channels, which sometimes claim analyticity in supplying the material, frequently substitute emotional evaluation for objective analysis, forgetting that there exists another style of media for that aim – political journalism.
If we want the press to be one of the principal institutes of democracy (only then it will begin performing the functions of the “fourth power”), it should have its own source of financing and it should give opportunity for expressing various points of view. It should contain more analyses and journalistic researches. (However, it does not cancel the existence of the political party press).
Currently we have some factors that interrupt development of the press in this direction. First of all, the press is under strict control of the authority, which sets up a barrier for freer evaluation of events in the country. Secondly, the political process itself is not open enough, because of the authoritarian system of power, to make analysis of the processes relying on the facts, not on the conjectures, based on “the information from reliable sources in the Administration of the President”. And thirdly, our community is still divided to “black and white” to such degree that there is more demand for publicism in the press rather than for all-round objective analysis.

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