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WRITER: PANKHURY BATRA
CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: July 29, 2002

Kazakhstan broadcast journalists to visit eastern Iowa through CIVIC

Five members of Kazakhstan's broadcast media will visit Iowa City Aug. 1-6 to participate in a program about how to better cover sensitive government issues such as corruption and opposition politics in their television programming.

The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) will host Saltanat Askerbekkyzy, Vladimir Belyakov, Bekzhan Idrisov, Assel Satayeva, and Sergey Yermolayev. They speak Kazakh, Persian, Russian and limited English and will be accompanied by their interpreters, Maria Entchevich and Igor Leybzon.

Fewer available resources to provide professional journalistic training and education than in the United States leave many Kazakh journalists unprepared to cover the complex issues facing their country, according to Tom Baldridge, CIVIC executive director.

"This visit will allow these broadcast journalists to develop reporting skills that are important to avoid creation of an environment of self-censorship and unbalanced reporting," Baldridge said.

The program will cover topics such as Western ethical principles of investigative reporting, interviewing techniques, and fact-checking resources. The media experts will meet with media non-governmental organizations (NGOs) experienced in dealing with post-Soviet Republic journalists to learn of best practices suited to an environment of limited resources and lack of quality educational and technical training. They will also meet with government press officials at all levels to obtain candid advice on the mutually beneficial, give-and-take relationship between government and media.

Another important part of their eastern Iowa program involves observing how small and medium-sized television stations maximize modestly budgeted weekly programs. Plans are under way to meet with major TV network affiliates KGAN and KCRG in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Aug. 5.

Kazakhstan is a country slightly less than four times the size of Texas and is located in Central Asia, northwest of China. For more information on Kazakhstan, visit the CIA World Factbook online at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/

CIVIC is a community organization of volunteers serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis. It is one of two such organizations in Iowa that accommodates the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Program (IVP). IVP is a professional exchange program administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consist of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For more information and complete visitor itinerary, contact Tom Baldridge, International Programs Executive Director, or CIVIC Office Coordinator, Marianne Weiss, at 335-0351. The CIVIC office is in Room 38 of the UI International Center, located at the south end of Ferson Avenue off Park Road.