Development of domestic journalism and trust in state media

Interview with the head of the department of information and analytical programs of the Khabar Agency, Aigul Adilova

The support of modern media, the solution of obstacles and challenges, and the adoption and support of reforms at the state level are rapidly expanding. Indeed, mass communication has become the center of our lives, culture, economy, and politics in the 21st century. After all, the media and modern politics permeate every person's life. A professional specialist in her field, Aigul Adilova shared with El.kz portal her thoughts on what Kazakhstani journalism should be like, and also talked about her experience in covering the activities of the first head of our state, and expressed her opinions about investigative journalism, and creating successful television projects.

How has Kazakh journalism changed over the past ten years?

Aigul Adilova has been working in the television industry since 2005. When she came to the journalism field, she was just 15 years old. Aigul started her career with a youth program in Aktobe region. She has been working on television for the last 18 years. Behind her shoulders is the experience of working as a correspondent, editor, news reporter, the head of various television projects, as well as covering the activities of the First President of our country. She also worked for the First Channel of Eurasia and the Astana TV channel. Throughout her career, Aigul has realized herself as a journalist, interviewer, news presenter, and investigative journalism reporter, as well as an author of documentaries and the head of information and analytical programs. Her team is preparing the main television projects for our state. Besides that, many people also remember her as a correspondent for the presidential pool service of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Due to her news stories and reports, we recognized and noticed the work of Elbasy. Today, Aigul Adilova is the head of the investigative journalism department at Khabar TV channel. She is considered a journalist in high demand and a strong trainer in the information field.

- “I am perhaps a representative of the generation that has seen several moments of the development of national television. If we used to make tapes and write texts on paper, nowadays everything is changing rapidly. This is the moment when it is possible to say that we live in a history of textbooks. It is very important that our sphere keeps up with the times. Of course, we must definitely admit that we are lagging behind on several fronts. But that is the main understanding of it. And, work is underway in this direction. We should understand that social networks and the Internet play a big role. If, 10-15 years back, we could not even assume that trends would be set in the Internet space at all, now it has become an integral part of our lives. Unfortunately, professional journalists are not always those people who set the trends”, - Aigul Adilova emphasized.

Each country has its own internal information agenda. There are observations that the citizens of the country are more interested in the international agenda than the domestic one.

- “For example, if you take the rallies that were in support of Ukraine in Almaty, there was a huge crowd of gathered people. If you compare this occasion with the internal agenda, like, for example, the meetings called “Let the Air of Almaty be Clean” or some inner things, Then, if you look at the number of people, the difference is significant. In this part, I would like our consumers to take an interest in the internal agenda as well. Continuing our conversation about the changes, if we talk about the quality of television, big changes are coming in technical modernization”, - Aigul stated.

For instance, 15 years ago, we could not even have imagined that we would be presenting the news live via phones. Now, it has become an integral part of our lives.

- “We have news channels. At any time of the day, wherever a journalist is, the main thing is that he has a smartphone and the Internet, so from any place or event we can go live. Another issue is the quality of personnel workers. There is a shortage of personnel staff in our market as a whole”, - says a professional specialist in her job.

According to Aigul Adilova, it is always important for journalists to develop themselves and keep up with the demands of the market, not only in domestic media.

- “It is always important not to stay in one place and create new and competitive projects. Perhaps, this is the result on which you rely and want to do something even more”, - added Aigul.

Advices to journalists who want to pursue their career in the Presidential Pool Service

Aigul Adilova has worked for several years in the Presidential Pool Service for journalists. This pool service includes those reporters who cover the activities of the senior-most officials.

- “The Presidential Pool Service includes highly qualified people who need to be trained both politically and in other areas. This is a separate, large, very responsible area of work”, - Aigul specified.

Here, it is very significant to understand and convey information to the audience in plain language. That will lead to some or other negotiations. Therefore, it is important to grasp what is behind some or other agreements. It is also worth noting that news reporters who are interested in and involved in working in the Presidential Pool Service need to improve their qualifications.

Aigul Adilova’s experience in creating successful television projects

According to Aigul Adilova, “Khabar 24” television channel is the only unique, informational, 24-hour news channel. There is a huge team effort behind all this.

As the head of the department of information and analytical programs, Aigul believes that the department of investigative journalism projects contributes to the cultivation of domestic journalism. Moreover, “Khabar” TV channel has a lot of programs and talk shows.

 - “It is very important to me that each project is not just a project for the sake of the program, but that it makes a certain contribution. We are personally approached by many people who have lost faith in justice. In addition, we create huge investigative journalism projects and try to find answers to various issues. Other than this, we are doing our best to solve the problem until the end.  For instance, you are trying to deal with his problem, so you can bring it to the attention of society. We have the equipment in our hands and need to use them as well”, - added Aigul.

Concerning the documentary films

Aigul Adilova is also the author of a documentary film about female inmates who serve their sentences in correctional colonies alongside their children. As an investigative reporter, Aigul spoke about how children who had been sentenced in the womb for the crimes committed by their mothers, who remained with them until the age of three, were raised in prison and reunited with their mother after her release.

- “There’s a problem with mothers who serve their sentences when they are pregnant or have just given birth. And I wanted to understand the fate of these children. In general, I wanted to understand and tell viewers that there is such a category of people and that the problems they face also need to be solved. If there are children there, they are full-fledged citizens of our country, whose interests we must also respect and protect”, - Aigul said.

The main crimes for which women pay their penalties in remote places are thieving, robbery, drug trafficking, and murdering. A lot of people who are staying in prison, must start a whole new life. They work, communicate, and have children who are supposed to serve their sentences by fate for an imperfect crime. Some of these women have families, and they are hoping that their families will wait for them.

How competitive is the state media in our republic? How much do they trust you?

Domestic journalists do not stay away from the problems. They investigate them, determine them and bring them to the attention of the authorities. But at the same time, they speak about the real achievements of Kazakhstan, which are many. This is considered the balanced agenda that allows correspondents to cover the processes taking place in the state as fully as possible.

- “It must be admitted that there is a crisis of confidence in the authorities. And in this format, it is important for the state media to do a lot of work to turn the audience toward themselves. There are some shifts, and they are essential and significant. We will continue to work on this. At the same time, it must be taken into account that a lot of positive things are happening in the country. This is also related to the news to be told”, - Aigul highlighted.

According to Aigul Adilova, “Khabar 24” television channel is among the top 4 channels in the trust of the audience. Other than this, these are the indicative figures. Journalists understand that we are not only implementing a state information policy. The question here is whether we draw the public’s attention to systemic problems in society.

- “Why can’t we talk about a school opening in a village. That’s related to the news too. Why, are we devaluing this fact? Who should tell, then, what is really happening in the country?”, - Aigul emphasized.

Journalism is always discussed as a profession with a mission

In accordance with Aigul, if we are talking about civil journalism, it is probably a citizen’s duty for a journalist to be approached by people who have faced injustice or who have lost all confidence in justice. If a person has the opportunity to help this person and pay attention to his problem, then it is probably not regarded as a question of the mission, but it might be connected with an issue of duty.

- "Therefore, there is a question of influence here, and we have to talk about some systemic problems that need to be addressed as well. My mission is to be a state journalist and understand the full responsibility of the information that we carry and present to the masses. I support the evolutionary development of our country”, - Aigul mentioned.

Many people are getting distracted by this garbage information. There are growing demands on the media. That means that the time is approaching for qualified journalism.

Perceptions and priorities of Kazakh-language media

- “In our state, there is a huge necessity and request for Kazakh-language content. And, this is obviously logical and fair. Another issue is the implementation of this content, but the prospects and potential are there. The main thing is that there is a request. If you look or do an analysis on this and the same Youtube space, the request for the Kazakh-language content is higher”, - Aigul noted.

In Aigul Adilova's opinion, nowadays it is important to develop and cultivate the Kazakh-language content even more and qualitatively. There is no doubt that populists who play the language card are illiterate. But, sorry, we live in Kazakhstan, and the transition of the audience to the Kazakh-language content is just fair, obvious and logical.

- “Another issue is the presentation of materials in the state language at a professional level. Here, there is definitely a moment of recommendation. But I think we are going in the right direction. There is also an issue of hype, that is also twisted, no matter in what language environment, like Russian or Kazakh”, - said Aigul.
Furthermore, Aigul Adilova believes that it is very essential to keep and support our national code in the Kazakh-speaking segment. In this case, people must take into account an important point that is related to the national interest.

In conclusion, many players in the media industry realize that, currently, it is not enough to just inform the people. We need to help people improve their quality of life. Also, we should learn to navigate the information space. Other than this, we have to give practical advice in various areas. For example, from managing personal finances to solving the problems of your city or village, and this is taken into account from both a perspective and a demand standpoint.

Additionally, every representative of this difficult profession, that is, every journalist, should have an understanding of this mission and, most importantly, need to feel the responsibility for their actions. The work of a correspondent gives access to people’s souls and minds. People should make more use of this access. Information has incredible power, and the journalists who work with it should be guided by the same principle as other professionals in their field.

(The pictures were captured by the photographer and some images were derived from the personal archive of the speaker)

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