On 8 December 2014 the British Embassy Astana organised students debate between teams from L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University and Kazakh Humanities and Law University (KazGUU). The topic of the debate was “Censorship/control in mass media and internet”. Students debate was held in KazGUU and included two teams with four people in each.
The event was conducted within the framework of the project “Rasing awareness about freedom of expression”. One of the main goals of the debate was to increase awareness in general public, government stakeholders, students on the issues of freedom of expression as an essential building block of democracy and the knowledge economy.
Steven Freeman, Second Secretary Political, British Embassy Astana:
The topic of censorship - and finding the right balance between censorship and fundamental rights - is important for Kazakhstan as it is for all countries, including my own and the other countries represented here.
That’s why we welcome the Kazakhstani government’s continued work with international organisations and diplomatic missions - including the United Kingdom and the EU - on these issues that all of us face. During the period of 2011- 2015 the British Embassy in Astana alone has committed about £1.2 million – or about 340 million Tenge to projects in support of human rights, rule of law and democracy in Kazakhstan. The British Government will continue to work with our Kazakhstani partners to provide expertise, project funding and facilitate discussion on these issues, which we see as vital to the country’s long-term stability and growth.
It is worth reminding ourselves that your Republic, as an independent country, is only 23 years old. In that time Kazakhstan has gone from the economic and political chaos of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 to today’s modern state, which sits towards the top of the World Bank’s “middle income” bracket for global economies. So a great deal has happened in those short 23 years. And of course it takes more than one generation to build the sort of society which both Kazakhstan and its partners want to see created. But – no pressure everyone – the people in this room are key to bringing that change about. So I ask you, the future leaders of this country - be proud of that mantle of leadership and use it responsibly.
The representatives of diplomatic missons from the US, Norway, Japan and the EU took an active part in the event by opening the debate and selecting he winners.
The winners of the debate - students from L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University.