Uzbek-Korean joint conference, Seol. 19/04/2019
Abstract. The article analyzes the problems of Uzbekistan’s image in the global media space. It is the mass media outlets through which the interests of state and political position on some international and regional issue are expressed, the mentality of the people is shaped, the state’s external image is nurtured, the international relations are bolstered, various blocks are established, sometimes outstanding confrontations are prevented, and so on.
Key words: country, image, information, Internet, media space.
For over the past years both the scientific community and the political elites have actively been scrutinizing the issues of image of the newly independent states. If we take into account that the public relations interact with public mind at the level of subconsciousness, then it shall be revealed to what extent urgent this problem is.
The world public is well aware of how, for example, England was described to be “the land of conservatism”, Italy – “home to mafia”, Thailand – “tourist heaven”, or the then U.S. President Ronald Reagan was portraying the former Soviet Union to be “the empire of evil” and Iranian President Homenei was calling the United States as the “elder devil”. Such labeling was practiced yet in the past centuries, i.e. long before the science of PR was established. For instance, it was customary to name Iran to be “the Persian Gulf gendarme” or the Khiva Khanate – “the Algeria of Middle Asia”. Having said that, one could think of the fact that prior to emergence of public relations, as a part of shaping one’s positive image, the partners used to widely engage in the “white” technologies in the international relations in contrast with the image of their opponents. Certainly, such practices weren’t called as “PR technologies”, however regardless of that how they were named the substance doesn’t change.
In this context, at the moment the task of shaping “the media image” of the newly independent states, i.e. their “image in the mass media” requires to accomplish the comprehensively schemed work. In this it is necessary to expand liaising with public and coordinating the activities of state governance bodies, various public organizations and businesses.
Thus, the international image of a country I am arguing about goes by the name of ‘a steady constanta’ (from Latin ‘constans’ – permanent, unchangeable, constant) and for over a span of years it gets stamped in the consciousness of the international community. Its characteristics are broadly utilized in the mass media and other news sources.
If a state doesn’t shape its own image, doesn’t disseminate the information about itself in the global level, then its natural, geopolitical and ideological opponents start to engage in shaping its negative image exploiting the “black” technologies. Thus, engaging the public in the global level obeys the rules considered to be the common for other directions of this tenure.
Yet another important aspect of an international image, above all, the way it is first shaped inside the country in a historical retrospective, and then it is reviewed in the measurements of society and state power. Since, given the mutual correspondence of international image nurtured by public opinion and state power, it can then be argued about capability to act in a severe foreign competition and readiness to effectively utilize the methods of further advancing image of a state and its communication.
In the international practice, the main goals and objectives haven’t been systematized as for the need to shape a positive image of a certain state. Such circumstance could be reasoned, possibly, by the fact that each and every state proceeds from its own national interests and needs in conducting its foreign policy and joins the international arena loaded with its own problems. It goes without saying – this process is never simple or easy. Such complexities of life bring into stage especially the problem of theoretical foundations of shaping the media image of newly independent states and disputable cases in practice.
Thus, it is hard to precisely enlist the objectives of an international image. It is defined in line with set of measures designed by a concrete state in a concrete circumstance in terms of addressing the precise tasks.
Having said that, I believe, by generalizing the goals and objectives in this direction, they can be divided into several categories:
- Above all, ensuring the international acclaim and trust;
- Bringing its domestic and foreign problems into the international stage;
- In disputed situations having buttress or partners in the person of other subjects of international legal relations;
- Reaching out to world markets, ensuring competitiveness of its products and services, and vice versa, engaging in imports in preferential terms;
- Making convinced other international legal players of its own position in terms of international problems;
- Mobilizing foreign investments to develop the country’s infrastructure;
- Using in maximum the domestic resources, and particularly, developing tourism;
- Enjoying a certain international status;
- Providing domestic and foreign security, counteracting the military, political, economic, cultural and information threats;
- Providing security to its citizens abroad and their economic or political interests;
- Disseminating information to other countries about its own culture and ideology and by such practice – exerting certain influence to them.
One of the most important components of the rising significance of image for over the past years is the openness of a country to investments (in the corporate image theory it goes by the name of ‘business image’ – B.A.). Having political and economic indicators to fall into the focus of attention of investors requires availability of such components of business image in the international community as high cultured atmosphere, political transparency and social responsibility (financing the educational and scientific programs, providing for environmental and technological safety, social packages for staff members of companies and enterprises, etc).
Yet, it must be emphasized with regret that nowadays there is relatively low amount of information in the world media market concerning Uzbekistan’s investment potential. I believe that in this regard a special media plan must be drafted along with accomplishment of systemic work in this direction.
In this context, if to speak from a theoretical point of view, then some outstanding problems available in practice begin to crawl onto surface. For example, for over the past years (particularly 1998-2019) the scope of roundtables and large conferences on Uzbekistan’s economic partnership opportunities held abroad saw gradual decrease. Their coverage in foreign and domestic mass media was in fact sidelined.
The investors are interested in generated profits, outcomes of putting capital into company, potential dangers and risks, and the business community – in the company status, its impact on the market and development rates, innovative technologies, business strategy and social position. The high competitiveness, trustworthiness and stability are important for partners. Since, the hopes of modern clientele are laid on the company professionalism, its values and the market niche. Meanwhile, the investors lean on the stability and development prospects of companies, correlation of both domestic and foreign image, as well as correspondence of individual values with those of communal ones.
Only in the case of mutual trust in the relationships between the foreign and domestic mass media, the image can be turned in the future into a powerful force in shaping the stable status. Yet, the level of openness of sources (newsmakers, official circles) is mostly important for foreign journalists, especially, along the process of fast news gathering.
Thus, assessing the country’s existing international image, analyzing the process of shaping the certain news flow, addressing the reasons leading to negative, inadequate and fragmentary coverage, establishing the trustworthy stable relationships in line with the rules of media community and media market, as well as the principles of mutual trust and solid partnerships are deemed to be a main direction in reviewing the image of the entire system of the country.
The difficult side of interacting with mass media is that given today’s globalization period there is a monopoly of the group of certain (industrialized) states in the news market, non-competitiveness of information technologies available to smaller states and rising consequent dangers that the information about them face manipulation.
Speaking otherwise, today’s international news exchange is of a one-sided nature and direction. It should be regretfully noted that the difference between capabilities in this area available to developed and developing states expands from day to day. Especially it is vividly observed in the condition of ideological, political, military or information standoffs.
Thus, the fact of a special attention paid to the theory and practice of building a democracy in Uzbekistan and introduction of learning subjects related to this sphere is thought to be, first, as an outcome of Uzbekistan’s Independence, and second, thanks to sovereignty, it demonstrates that the priority of the chosen course of progress is about building a democratic state.
It is an open secret that science is an important branch which defines the present and the future of any state. At the moment, the Uzbek scientists are creating a solid foundation to ensure further development of the nation’s science. Uzbekistan’s Independence in 1991 stood as an enormous historical event for the whole people, and particularly, the scientific and scholarly community.
In this article as I have discussed the theoretical foundations and the problem of disputable cases in practice in terms of shaping the media image of newly independent states, the following conclusions are made:
- for over the recent years the issues of image of newly independent states are well scrutinized both by scientific community and political elites. In these conditions, if to take into account that the public relations interact with public consciousness at the level of subconsciousness, then it becomes vivid to what extent urgent this problem is;
- the main goals and objectives pursued to create the positive image of a certain state internationally haven’t been systematized in the learning books. Such circumstance could be reasoned, possibly, by the fact that each and every state proceeds from its own national interests and needs in conducting its foreign policy and joins the international arena loaded with its own problems. It goes without saying – this process is never easy;
- the issue of looking for the opportunities to expand the news flow about the large-scale advances made by Uzbekistan remains yet to be urgent;
- I believe that the algorithm of creating an international image must be universal for image programs at any level. In corporate strategies the algorithm of shaping an image should intake the stage of learning the competitor’s image, as well;
- according to analyses, the theoretical foundations of shaping image of newly independent states and the cases in practice sometimes ignore one another. For example, from theoretical viewpoint the rules of creating the news flow require to present more news, ensure the continuous flow of news, provide with concrete information, work fast, know limits, accept the true message, open up its own version of the story and make one’s own position known. However, when it comes to practice, due to some reasons the immediacy is lacked, the concrete position is not announced, the answers to the questions by media come slow and such practices become regular;
- although it can be mentioned that the newly independent state, which chose the path of democratic progress, must constantly demonstrate its political and economic openness, and the way that it is free. If a state doesn’t shape its own image, doesn’t disseminate the information about itself in the global level, then its natural, geopolitical and ideological opponents start to engage in shaping its negative image exploiting the “black” technologies. Thus, engaging the public in the global level obeys the rules considered to be the common for other directions of this tenure;
- such complexities of life bring into stage especially the problem of theoretical foundations of shaping the media image of newly independent states and disputable cases in practice. Thus, it is hard to precisely enlist the objectives of an international image. It is defined in line with set of measures designed by a concrete state in a concrete circumstance in terms of addressing the precise tasks.