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How the Year of the Volunteer implemented, what kind of support the country's media receive and how civil society develops — Aida Balayeva reports to the public

Monday, 29 June 2020, 18:59:27

At a reporting public meeting, the Minister of Information and Social Development Aida Balayeva spoke about the main results of work for 5 months of 2020 and key tasks for the future.

The Ministry of Information and Social Development is responsible for five major ideological areas: information, civil society, interethnic relations, religion and work with youth.

In general, the activities of the ministry cover a wide range of areas, which together determine the main contours of state policy in the field of information and ideological work.


Civil society

To date, the ministry, in the framework of the ongoing policy on the development of civil society, has taken a number of systematic measures in three areas — creating the institutional framework for development, building a dialogue format for interaction and increasing the sustainability of non-governmental organizations.

Sustainable platforms operate on a systematic basis — the ASAR tripartite partnership platform, the Coordinating Council for Cooperation with NGOs, and the Majilis of public councils. It is planned to hold the IX Civil Forum of Kazakhstan in November 2020.

The non-governmental sector is a reliable partner of the state in resolving social issues and activating civic initiatives, in connection with which the ministry is working to increase its sustainability through the development of mechanisms for state support of NGOs.

The volumes of financing for social projects within the framework of the state social order and grant financing are increasing annually. For example, since 2016, grant financing has increased by more than 9 times.

In the framework of state procurement this year, government agencies plan to implement over 2 thousand social projects totaling almost 18 billion tenge.

To ensure the systematic development of civil society, the ministry, with the active participation of the non-governmental sector, developed comprehensive measures and included them in the draft Concept for the Development of Civil Society in the Republic of Kazakhstan until 2025, which is now being approved by state bodies.

Within the framework of this Concept, systematic measures are provided for creating the institutional foundations of civic development. First of all, these are legislative initiatives to introduce amendments and additions to the normative acts on public councils, volunteering, charity, mediation, non-profit organizations, state social order. Representatives of the non-governmental sector and the expert community are actively involved in their development.

A great stimulus to the development of the volunteer movement, especially during the pandemic, was given by the initiative of the Head of State Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to declare this year the Year of the Volunteer.

So, under the auspices of the Birgemiz republican front office volunteer headquarters were created, hot lines were opened, about 40 thousand volunteers were involved, providing targeted assistance to socially vulnerable categories of the population. As a result, during the state of emergency in the country, assistance was rendered to nearly 1 million citizens who found themselves in difficult circumstances. These are veterans of war and labor, lonely elderly, large families, low-income families.

For the further systematic development of volunteering, a volunteer infrastructure was created on the principle of a single vertical from the regional to the republican level.

Currently, work is underway with NGOs to develop an appropriate bill, within the framework of which practical mechanisms will be put in place to motivate people to participate in volunteer activities.

Moreover, this year it is planned to send 7 Kazakhstanis as volunteers to work in UN structures. The best volunteers and initiatives that have contributed to the development of Kazakhstan and the solution of socially significant issues will be encouraged by the International Volunteer of the Year award.

Of course, in one year it is difficult to complete all the initiatives for the development of volunteering, but it is a turning point for further systemic development.


Concept of Hearing State and access to information

The idea of ​​creating a Hearing State is now finding strong public support. In its framework, to date, a comprehensive work has been done. For example, the work of the leadership of the ministry on the regular reception of citizens and monitoring their appeals have been systematized. The minister’s personal blog also works continuously.

In addition, public and online receptions are open in all government bodies. A holistic platform that unites the websites of state bodies, where citizens receive applications, has been created.

Contact centers 109 function in all regions, with akimats open front offices serving on the basis of the single window.

Today, the ministry is introducing the Concept of Civil Society Development until 2025. This document is necessary to improve the quality of service of the state apparatus and enhance the participation of civil society in decision-making processes.

A number of changes were prepared to the bill on information. Their main tasks:

  • Enhancing competencies of state bodies in this direction;
  • Providing the president with reports on citizens' access to information;
  • Legislatively fixing the spot of an employee responsible for this area in each state body and other relevant measures.

At the same time, a transparent management model has been created to engage the citizens in decision-making processes. Already, many institutions subordinate to state bodies are working with this model. So, more than 100 organizations have opened the blog of the first leaders on the Open Dialog portal. Thus, a lot of open data began to be published on the portal.


In 2020, Unified Portal of State Media to be launched

The National Plan for the Development of the Information for 2020-2022 clearly defines a number of conceptual approaches. Specifically:

1) Increasing the competitiveness of domestic media;

2) Developing human capital;

3) Improving the legal regulation of the information sphere.

As part of improving the competitiveness of domestic media, the approaches to state support for domestic media will be reviewed.

A unified system for placing a state information order at the republican and regional level will be created with the introduction of an assessment of its effectiveness and quality. A set of measures will be implemented to support domestic print media, the development of digital broadcasting and Internet television, the creation of niche television channels, and the optimization of government organizations in the field of information.

As part of the direction for the development of human capital, the training system for the media industry will be reviewed through the improvement of educational programs and professional development through providing mentoring, the organization of training courses, and the launch of a grant program for young media workers.

As part of the area of ​​legal regulation of the information, legislative measures will be implemented aimed at improving the media industry, determining the legal status of new industry entities, expanding media opportunities for advertising, and improving procedures for broadcasting.

In general, the implementation of the National Plan contributes to the economic independence of domestic media and the growth of consumer demand from society.

In order to qualitatively inform the public about the activities of state bodies this year, the Unified Portal of State Media will be launched. This is a very important step, especially in conditions of a large information flow, which will allow citizens to receive reliable information “firsthand”.


Two new TV channels to be launched in Kazakhstan

The ministry is conducting consistent work to develop and improve the competitiveness of the domestic information space.

Currently, the plans for opening two new TV channels this year — Abay TV and Al-Farabi are under consideration.

The launch Abay TV is scheduled for June 30. It will be part of the television family of the TRC Kazakhstan and will become a new niche channel dedicated to the wealth and heritage of national culture.

The second television project, the Al-Farabi, is launched on the basis of the Khabar Agency by the beginning of the school year.

Al-Farabi Channel will become a new educational television platform for children and teenagers from 6 to 18 years old. The relevance of such a channel has become especially evident during the pandemic.

Domestic production of serial products continues. This year it is planned to produce 42 series. Among the novelties of the audience, interesting projects on family values, volunteer activities, series aimed at improving the image of teachers, doctors, police officers, and the popularization of a healthy lifestyle are expected.


Developing broadcasting networks

The introduction of digital terrestrial broadcasting continues, which today covers more than 84% of the country's population.

Analog television has already been completely turned off in the Mangystau, Zhambyl, Turkistan, Almaty, Pavlodar, Kostanay regions and the city of Shymkent.

Until the end of 2020, the North-Kazakhstan region and the city of Almaty will go to the central heating network.

The ministry has begun work on the Broadcasting Development Concept, which will lay down approaches to modernize equipment, as well as expand the broadcasting network, especially in the border regions of the country.

Today, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the media are faced with great economic difficulties. The forecast for the loss of advertising revenue this year is estimated at an average of 30 to 60%.

As part of anti-crisis measures, the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan approved amendments to the legislation providing for exemption from taxes and mandatory contributions from the wage fund for the period from April 1 to Oct. 1, 2020.

In addition, the Parliament passed a bill which provides for the exemption of commercial television and radio channels from payment for analogue and terrestrial digital broadcasting for the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.


Over 140 women abandoned radical views after returning from zones of terrorist activity

In the religious sphere, the ministry has 3 interrelated tasks. The first is the promotion of the values ​​of secular society, the second is the preservation of inter-religious harmony, and the third is the prevention of religious extremism.

The ministry works in the following areas — outreach, returning citizens from a destructive religious point of view, and countering the ideology of religious extremism via the Internet.

Thus, in 2019, outreach teams conducted more than 50 thousand events with a coverage of 3 million people. In order to quickly respond to problematic issues in the field of religion, a pool of qualified lecturers has been created in the amount of 300 people.

As Balayeva noted, the work has been very effective. Therefore, this year it is planned to increase the number of specialists in these groups to 500, to retrain 1200 lecturers.

In addition, thanks to focused work with 163 citizens of Kazakhstan who returned to the country as a result of Operation Zhusan, 144 women abandoned their radical views and some of them returned to a secular lifestyle.

“Of course, we need to deal with the causes, not the consequences of the problem. Therefore, in 2019, more than 5,300 Internet resources were analyzed, of which 3,200 have been found to contain illegal matrices. All of them have been blocked,” the minister said.


Interethnic relations

In 2020, a committee was established under the ministry for the development of interethnic relations, which will build a clear vertical of government agencies responsible for the interethnic sphere and actively promote public policy.

This work will be carried out by the Committee, taking into account in-depth analysis, with a view to early warning of the potential for inter-ethnic tension.

To ensure a scientific approach to improving state policy in the field of ensuring national unity, the Institute of Applied Ethnopolitical Studies was created at the ministry.

It is planned to improve the interaction of the ministry with the Assembly of the Peoples of Kazakhstan. For this purpose, the institutions of Qogamdyq Kelisim (social agreement) at the central and regional levels are transferred to the jurisdiction of the ministry and regional internal affairs departments. These structures will directly organize interaction with ethnic groups.

To solve the problems of Kazakhs abroad and oralmans who returned to the country, a number of projects were launched together with the Otandastar Foundation.

The government approved the Support Plan for Ethnic Kazakhs for 2018-2022. Within its framework, many cultural and humanitarian events are held with the participation of Kazakhs abroad.

The procedure for obtaining documents by oralmans is greatly simplified and the principle of single window has been introduced. The number of documents they need was halved, the processing time will be reduced from 6 to 3 months.

From year to year, issues of socio-economic support for oralmans are being addressed. Now they will be implemented in government programs implemented in the country.

For oralmans wishing to obtain citizenship of Kazakhstan, a Center for Information Support of Compatriots was created. Since 2019, about 5 thousand calls have been received at this center.

In turn, together with the Otandastar Fund, Kazakh cultural and business houses will be opened in countries with a large number of Kazakhs. This primarily applies to countries such as China, Russia, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Germany and Turkey.

With regard to the issue of language training, 31 Kazakh classes are already open online in 23 cities from 12 countries. This year in these countries more than 2.5 thousand children will learn their native language.


Year of Youth gave impetus to developing systemic measures to support young Kazakhstanis

2019 was marked by the Year of Youth, announced by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev. In total, more than 300 national events were implemented throughout the country, which involved more than 2 million young people. Special measures covered more than 800 thousand people.

So, in the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Shymkent, 3 thousand rental apartments were issued for working youth, including young families. In total, it is planned to allocate 9 thousand apartments.

As part of the Zhas Kasipker project, 5 thousand people received grants from the state and became young entrepreneurs. In addition, 10 thousand young businessmen expanded their production through microloans, most of which were issued to rural youth. As part of the Zhasyl El project, more than 20 thousand people were covered in 2019.

Under the ‘’With a Diploma - to the Village’’ program, the size of the lump sum for specialists has been increased from 70 to 100 monthly calculation indices.

Grant funding for basic and applied research of young scientists over the next three years will be increased by 3 billion tenge.

Through the introduction of the system of Social Loans for Students, scholarships for students of higher educational institutions engaged in volunteer activities were increased by 30%.

In the Year of Youth, many measures were taken to support youth. But most importantly, impetus was given to the development of further systematic measures in the framework of youth policy.

So, this year the task is to develop a comprehensive plan to support youth until 2025, as well as develop approaches to improve legislation in the field of youth policy.

On the basis of the QazExpoCongress pavilion in Nur-Sultan, measures are being taken to create the ArtHUB Youth Initiatives Support Center — a platform where creative youth can realize their bold ideas. It will host youth organizations and the front office of volunteers.


Increase in number of divorces recorded in Kazakhstan

“As one of the key priorities in his Address, the Head of State outlined support for family and childhood. We have to admit that, unfortunately, along with the development of modern society, the value orientations of the family are changing,” Balayeva noted.

A big problem for the country is the increase in the number of divorces. If in 2017 there were 55 thousand facts or 39% of the number of registered marriages, then in 2019 — almost 60 thousand or 43%.

As Balayeva noted, such active statistics were influenced by the situation around the introduction of targeted social assistance, when in pursuit of material assistance people massively went to fictitious divorces.

Currently, any changes taking place in society can negatively affect the family. Therefore, one of the most important social tasks of the state is the protection of the family, motherhood and childhood.

Key approaches are reflected in the Concept of Family and Gender Policy until 2030.

This year, the implementation of the second stage of this Concept, which envisages measures aimed at strengthening the institution of the family, reproductive health and the prevention of domestic violence, has begun.


Spiritual modernization of public consciousness

Three years ago, a long-term special program was adopted. A lot has been done during this time. Currently, 13 special projects are being implemented under this program.

There is also a plan for the implementation of the program, consisting of 97 tasks for 2020. In accordance with this, the activities are divided into 3 areas — personal development, preservation of national identity and the development of the state and civil society.

The ruh.kz portal and the special Civil Site are currently operating, where a discussion of all issues related to this program takes place.

Four special projects are also being implemented: “Labor is the heritage of the country,” “Legal culture,” “Saving is the strength of society,” “Traditions and customs.” Separate concepts have been developed for each of them. The main idea of ​​these projects is the education of the individual and the formation of high taste in society.


Future plans

In conclusion, Balayeva noted that today the ministry has a whole range of tasks, the overall success of which depends on the effective implementation.

In the field of civil society development:

1. Improving the interaction of the state and civil society institutions by:

Professionalizing and enhancing the sustainability of civil society;

Creating a civil control system;

Digitalizing social partnership mechanisms;

Supporting and developing civic initiatives.

2. Improving the legislative and institutional foundations of civil society.

There are 7 legislative acts where amendments and additions are to be made, including on improving the mechanisms for forming a social order in the direction of uniform coverage of all social segments.

The main evaluation criterion will be the maximum multiplier effect from each project.

In the field of media development:

1. Reformatting state order information taking into account an increase in the share of analytical materials, creative and multimedia content.

2. Optimization of state media resources with the creation of print media holdings, Internet resources and television and radio holding.

3. Modernization of the Kazmedia center.

In regulation of religious interactions:

1. Development of a Comprehensive Plan for the Implementation of State Policy in the Religious Sphere, which includes a set of measures to counter religious extremism, promote secular principles and counter-propaganda work on the Internet.

In the field of interethnic relations:

1. Strengthening analytical and prognostic work by organizing in-depth field research in the regions.

2. Building a system for the timely identification and prevention of interethnic conflicts.

In the field of youth and family policy:

  1. Building a differentiated approach to each age group in order to develop and implement a unified plan for targeted work.
  2. Developing separate targeted socially oriented projects that can solve vital issues for each age group.
  3. Implementing a set of measures to strengthen and develop the institution of the family, protect childhood and motherhood, prevent domestic violence, and promote gender equality.

The priorities for the implementation of the Hearing State have been indicated separately, where it is necessary:

1. To carry out system monitoring and a qualitative analysis of the work of communication channels with the population.

2. Organizing rapid response to incoming requests from the media, NGOs and the public.

3. Increasing information proactivity in the activities of government agencies.

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