Article Archive for Year 2009
Original post (RUS)
Danny Icecream, who participated in the “EduCamp Almaty 2009 – New Media Weekend” forum, writes:
On November 14-15, I took part in EduCamp Almaty 2009 – New Media Weekend, a series of workshops dedicated to new media, held at KIMEP. Read the full story »
Editor’s note: Turkmenistan may be second only to North Korea in its self-imposed isolation, but this hasn’t stopped the global phenomenon of “urban culture”, especially in the form of Hip Hop. neweurasia’s Annasoltan explores how Hip Hop can thrive — or die — in a totalitarian police state. Read her previous entries in this post series, including exclusive remarks from Zumer Chas of Darkroom Posse, here. Also, read Chris Schuepp’s 2008 guest post on underground pop music in Turkmenistan here.
Given the meteoric rise in popularity of Hip Hop in Turkmenistan, what approach are the Turkmen authorities taking toward the music form and the restive youth subculture it represents?
The Moscow Forum of European and Asian Media opened last Thursday to much fanfare. Valery Niyazmatov, Uzbek journalist and editor of the Russian-language newspaper New Century, put this interesting question to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev:
In recent years, in the media from time to time [there is the] hotly debated question of freedom of speech. Sometimes it is replaced by the notion of a certain permissiveness, until the use of profanity. I would like to hear your opinion about freedom of speech in Russia — more specifically, in mass media of Russia …
To begin with, when an Uzbek journalist inquires about the situation for freedom of speech is quite a statement about how lousy the situation must actually be in Russia (not to mention his guts for daring to ask the President himself).
It’s been a big year for barcamping in Central Asia. There was, of course, the mother of all barcamps in Almaty in the Spring, organized by neweurasia‘s own Yelena. Another one was pulled off in the Fall in Kyrgyzstan, followed-up by a training seminar in Bakten — trailblazing the digital frontier — not to mention EduCamp back in Almaty.
But when 2009 started, no one could have imagined that there would be barcamps in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (consider this post by neweurasia‘s Vadim from a while back). Yet, the impossible has happened in both Tashkent and Dushanbe.
The attached video is a short story about an amateur tour for Kyrgyz during the event in Dushanbe (and when I say “ameteur”, I really mean it). If you watch closely you might catch some familiar faces from neweurasia et al. Enjoy! ;-)
Editor’s note: Turkmenistan may be second only to North Korea in its self-imposed isolation, but this hasn’t stopped the global phenomenon of “urban culture”, especially in the form of Hip Hop. neweurasia’s Annasoltan has some exclusive comments from the biggest name in Turkmen rapping — Zumer Chas of Darkroom Posse. Read her previous entry in this post series here and here. Also, read Chris Schuepp’s 2008 guest post on underground pop music in Turkmenistan here.
Okay, for those of you who don’t know, the music form “Hip Hop” or “Rap” originated in 1970s Bronx, New York City, and has since spread across the world. That’s a lot because it’s more than music, but a whole lifestyle. Some (American) names you’ve probably definitely heard of: Eminem, Queen Latifah, Sugar Hill Gang, Salt’n'Pepper, 2Pac, Snoop Dog, NWA, etc. etc. But unless you’re in Turkey or Turkmenistan, I bet you’ve never heard of Zumer Chas.
Zumer is the biggest name from the Turkmen Hip Hop group Darkroom Posse, the most popular Turkmen Hip Hop operation of our time to reach stardom. For example, in 2008 when Zumer gave a concert together with RuDe, 1600 people came — a remarkable number. I caught up with him recently to ask him his thoughts about why the music form is spreading in Turkmenistan, and what it means to be a rapper in this country.
Editor’s note: Turkmenistan may be second only to North Korea in its self-imposed isolation, but this hasn’t stopped the global phenomenon of “urban culture”, especially in the form of Hip Hop, from arriving there, writes neweurasia’s Annasoltan. Read her previous entry in this post series here.
Due to its sexually explicit lyrics, tendency to glorify violence, and promote radical political views, Hip Hop has long been a subject of controversy in the West. However, precisely because of its gangland origins and lo-tech requirements, Hip Hop has also long been indefatigably grass roots.
So, it’s initially hard to imagine its sudden bloom in such a closed and strictly controlled country as Turkmenistan. After all, this a country where, as part of an extensive personality cult, the official state media broadcasts only songs in praise of the country’s leadership.
But the rigidities of Turkmen media culture are precisely why Hip Hop is suddenly popular: Turkmenistan’s youth are finding refuge in their own subculture and seeking new forms of expression.
The logo, the Foreign Ministry says, combines the flag of Kazakhstan with the OSCE logo. Genius. The flag we are told, symbolises energy, revival and time.
“By displaying the sun, Kazakhstan confirms its commitment to universal values and openness to the international community”. Naturally.
“The silhouette of a soaring bird stands for strength, breadth and vision. For the people of the steppes, this is also a symbol of freedom, independence, aspirations towards high goals and a flight into the future”.
Baiterek-Orleu company, the logo’s designers, go further: “Berkut also signifies an impartial observer soaring high up in the skies of Democracy and Cooperation.”
Inspired choice for the soaring impartial observer? Or does anyone think they have a better idea?
Editor’s note: The Tajik government has recently instituted fees for information requests from journalists and the general public. In this editorial, neweurasia’s Botur examines how putting a price tag on information will only serve to hurt freedom: “Information is the lifeblood of democracy”.
In today’s world when just about every country is striving to improve its transparency, accountability and public access to information (or at least pretend to), the Tajik government once again decides to swim against the stream.
Last week the government issued a decree that envisions charging fees for reimbursement of costs incurred by providing information to news organizations and the public. The fee has been set at 10 cents per page or $10 per 100 pages. Consider that the average salary in Tajikistan is $70 per month, not to mention that there are barely two dozen functioning newspapers and news agencies, all of whom are strapped for cash.
Translation of publicist’s post (RUS)According to the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Electronic Government, labor agreements, collective bargaining contracts and/or employers can determine an hourly wage for work completed in less than a full working day, as well as set wages for temporary work.
Everything seems clear, but how does it work? Is the money earned over a certain number of hours sufficient to cover basic living costs? In order to check how realistic it is to live on minimal wage, I decided to use my own experience working as a promoter. Read the full story »
On November 14-15, Almaty hosted a seminar for journalists and bloggers: EduCamp Almaty 2009: New Media Weekend. Read the full story »