The Impact of New Media on Social and Political Processes on the Example of Kazakhstan
Traditional media have long lost their popularity, especially among young people. New media - social platforms, messengers and traditional online media - are becoming an important player in shaping the information agenda and public opinion. Thus, the audience of Vkontakte public pages and Facebook groups is approaching the size of the audience of major news sites.
New media are turning into a powerful lever that affects political processes in society. Politicians and officials have accounts in social platforms Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Facebook or Instagram. Parties and organizations of different political orientation are also represented in social media.
Kazakhstan, like some other post-Soviet countries, is one of the most interesting examples of interaction between new media and society.
Now Kazakhstan is going through the process of changing generations of political elites, which is usually accompanied by increased instability and political tension. The extraordinary presidential elections in Kazakhstan will be held on June 9, 2019. Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in March 2019.
According to 2017 data, 77 percent of the country's population uses the Internet. Therefore, the social media are becoming an active tool of the election campaign.
The purpose of our study is to try to reveal how social media affect the course of elections if at all. We propose typological classification of various forms of social and political processes representation in the new Kazakhstan media. We identified the most popular social platforms, influential bloggers, leading public pages and YouTube channels.
We found out that while the social platform Vkontakte is very popular in Russia, in Kazakhstan Odnoklassniki is more widely used, Facebook is also popular – it sets the agenda of the day. Viber and WhatsApp messengers are mainly used for interpersonal communication.
This year, social media play a big role in the elections in Kazakhstan for the first time. On May 13, it was announced that bloggers in Kazakhstan should provide all presidential candidates with equal opportunities for campaigning. If the blogger publishes information about one of the candidates, the same opportunity should be given to other candidates.
On May 9, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Telegram, as well as websites of a number of media, were inaccessible to Internet users in Kazakhstan. According to the media, access to certain sites was blocked to limit access to protest calls against the government.
Thus, in Kazakhstan we see the emergence of important media phenomena, the conceptualization of which will allow us to reveal the evolution of the interaction of new media and society. The results of the study will be available in the summer of 2019.
This paper is co-authored with Anastasia Obraztsova
Presents in panel 3A