Almaty, Kazakhstan, April 2018Matteo Renzi, former Prime Minister of Italy, will join this year’s East-West encounter at the 15th Eurasian Media Forum in Almaty, Kazakhstan, next month (22-24 May).

The theme of the two days of debate will be the evolution of global power politics that dominate the international news headlines, from America to Europe and China.  The audience will comprise several hundred public figures, senior media representatives and experts from around the world.

Renzi will contribute, together with other politicians and journalists, to a review of the rapidly shifting European landscape entitled: ‘New threats to the stability of Western Europe?’

French politician Harlem Désir, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and a former French Secretary of State for European Affairs, will be among other European participants in the discussions.

The Forum agenda will cover relations between the great powers of East and West, current tensions with Russia and rivalry between China and the United States. Roger Fisk, the political strategist who guided Barack Obama’s successful presidential election campaigns, will contribute insights from his experience at the heart of US policy-making.

Beyond politics and economics, different panels will review the evolution of technology, environmental policy, mass communications and the media, social morals and changing fashions in opinion, including political satire.

On the environment, a key speaker will be Tetsunari Iida, Director of Japan’s Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, who since the Fukushima nuclear disaster has been calling for Japan to reduce its reliance on nuclear power and increase its use of renewable energy.

Looking ahead, delegates will hear the views of Martin Ford, American futurist and expert on artificial intelligence and the rise of robotics.

The Forum will be holding its 15th meeting this year back in Almaty, the commercial hub of Kazakhstan, where it started its conference series in 2002.  From 2012 to 2017, it met in Astana, the capital.

The Eurasian Media Forum series was launched on the initiative of Dr Dariga Nazarbayeva, head of its Organising Committee, to promote East-West understanding after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Manhattan and Washington. It has established a distinctive reputation for bringing together public figures and experts with senior media representatives to discuss the latest world news agenda.

Please check the Forum’s website,, for updates and online registration.

Irina Khakamada will participate XIV Eurasian Media Forum

We are delighted to introduce the new speaker for the XIV Eurasian Media Forum!

Former vice-speaker of the Russian Parliament, a Minister, and a presidential candidate, as well as a PhD University lecturer, Noble prize nominee, and a businesswoman, Irina Khakamada will join us at the last session of the forum titled “LIFE IN A ‘SIMPLIFIED’ WORLD”.

Note: one of the declared speakers of the session, Gianluca Vakki had withdrawn his participation on the Forum due to personal issues. In his statement he wished the participants of the Forum to enjoy the event and to receieve the interesting news.

Day 1 – Summary

Astana, Kazakhstan, 22 June – The 14th Eurasian Media Forum got off to a stimulating pre-launch start Thursday with a day of professional masterclasses and a lecture on the history of the media.

Ahead of the formal opening on Friday, experts attending the Forum held classes on media-related subjects, including creative thinking, political campaigning, business news and fact-checking in the digital age.  The importance of social media was a common theme.

The lecture on “Five Centuries of News History” was given by Shelby Coffey III, vice-chair, The Newseum, Washington, and former editor of the Los Angeles Times.  He ranged from the first newspapers in the 17th century to the advent of Facebook and Twitter.

The two-day Forum is being held at the brand new Congress Centre within the complex of Astana EXPO-2017, the world exhibition hosted this year by Kazakhstan, on the overall theme of ‘future energy’.  The Forum itself has adopted the positive catchline: ‘Win-Win Scenario’.


The first masterclass was conducted by David Applefield, special representative, Financial Times, USA-France, on the theme:  “How creative thinking nourishes content and commerce.  Celebrating original thinking and gaining media impact.”

Introducing his subject, Applefield declared:  “There has never been a more important time for media professionals to talk to each other.”

He described creativity as the motor for producing viable content, which required a combination of journalism and commerce.  Content covered everything from news and information to entertainment and advocacy, he argued, but it had to be compelling.

“These are great times for creative people, but we need more and better commerce to fuel good media,” he said.  Ideas were hiding everywhere, he told a mainly young and local audience.

Giles Kenningham, former head of political press to UK Prime Minister David Cameron, then talked about the interaction of political campaigning with the media, under the title: Mechanisms of successful campaigns in the media.”


Media campaigns matter because they really do affect the outcome of elections, he said.  The successful media campaign must create a choice for the voters.  It must persuade them which party to back by establishing the contrasting factors.  “You need to play to your own strengths and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses,” he explained.

Drawing on his experience as an advisor to David Cameron, he stressed the importance of putting in place a full team of experts:  media, communications, public relations and fund-raising.  At the start of the campaign it was essential to decide on a strategy and stick to it.

How to lose a campaign?  Kenningham was an observer at the recent UK general election rather than a participant.  His view was clear.  Prime Minister Theresa May’s theme of “strong and stable” government had been fatally undermined by a key change of policy midway through the campaign.

The next masterclass was conducted by Todd Baer, Global Director, Bloomberg Media, UK, on the subject: “Overview of business news. Commercial aspect of media. How do media companies make money?”


Commenting on the relationship between content and revenue, Baer said there was no doubt that content creation came first, followed – if successful – by revenue

 He defined business news as events and data that move markets.  The events could be economic, financial or political.  For example, recent news of a significant change in the Saudi Arabian royal line of succession had moved international oil markets.

How to make business news interesting?  Use real stories about real people.   Put a face to the data.   Explain why markets are going up or down.  Cause and effect.  Who is affected?  And above all, “always be first, but first be right.” Baer said.

Delivering the Forum’s lecture on news, Shelby Coffey III brought the audience sharply up to the minute by declaring at the outset: “A great deal involving the future of news is being played out right now in Washington.”


He prefaced his talk with some comments on the current state of relations between the media and governments in what he described as a “hyper-connected but most divided world.”

In Washington, he noted, the established American press had to contend with a President who was adept at using social media, but it was important to note that this was not without historical precedent:  Franklin D Roosevelt had used radio broadcasts to communicate directly with the American people in the 1930s and 1940s.

Citing examples of press freedom from the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution to modern times, Coffey expressed guarded optimism about the future of the media.  “Some very high quality journalism is being produced right now and more can certainly be done.  At the same time, it is true that standards may have slipped overall because of the sheer number of untrained citizen journalists,” he warned.


The final session of the day was devoted to young and innovative journalism.  The two speakers were Versha Sharma, Managing editor, NowThis, and Toby Leah Bochan, Head of Video, Storyful, who spoke on the theme: “Factchecking in the digital video age”.

Versha Sharma said the two organisations worked closely together in the social media field.  NowThis concentrated on publishing video on social media: ‘stories that move’ – chosen to appeal to a youth audience.

They prided themselves on being one of the youngest newsrooms in the world, staffed by ‘New Media Super Natives’ who had intimate knowledge of social media platforms.

For Storyful, Toby Leah Bochan explained how their organization engaged in meticulous detective work to verify videos that appeared on social media.   This involved checking the source, date and location of the original video contribution.

Explaining the business model, she said clients were prepared to pay for the verification service, as well as paying for certain distribution and licensing rights.

All in all, a great day!

Mechanisms of Successful Campaigns in the Media

The XIV Eurasian Media Forum continues with a master class titled “Mechanisms of Successful Campaigns in the Media”.

The behind-the-scenes champion of the 2015 United Kingdom general election, Giles Kenningham, the former head of the political press to the UK Prime Minister, spent this year’s general election as a spectator.

Speaking on the topic of this master class today, he has outlined the importance of Social Media in winning over younger generations of voters.

The XIV Eurasian Media Forum master classes have begun!

David Applefield (Financial Times) was hosting a session titled “How Creative Thinking Nourishes Content and Commerce: Celebrating Original Thinking and Gaining Media Impact”.

He was sharing his insights on the expectations of modern society with regards to relevant media.