Rimzil Valeyev: “A people who does not read, watch their media resources is doomed to disappear”
What is the mission of the ethnic press?
“The Tatar press will survive if it meets its historical mission — to unite and preserve the people," says publicist Rimzil Valeyev. In the author's column written within the framework of the special project of Realnoe Vremya dedicated to the upcoming population census, he shares his thoughts on the results of the online conference “Tatar periodicals: retrospective and future”. According to our columnist, today the Tatar press is noticeably inferior to the national press that the people had before the revolution. The journalist also lists the main problems of the Tatar media.
Advanced national press before the revolution
Printed publications of the Tatars are a phenomenal phenomenon, and Tatar publishers were leaders in the Russian Empire among the non-Russian peoples of the country. Already in 1905, two Tatar newspapers appeared in St. Petersburg — Nur (in early September) and Ulfat, which began to be published exactly 115 years ago — on December 11, 1905. In Kazan, they begun to publish Kazan Mohbire, in Uralsk — Fiker newspaper, which was founded by Kamil Motygyy and published it together with 19-year-old Gabdulla Tukay. A total of 120 Tatar publications appeared before the revolution. In terms of number, they were second only to Russian publications. The subject matter and content of the publications also served as an example for other Russian peoples.
At that time, these events were perceived as an information explosion, an outbreak of enlightenment. The flow of social activity was commensurate with the spirit of the era of revolutions and deep processes that took place at the beginning of the last century. Tatar newspapers and magazines were not financed by the state, they were published at the expense of patrons and the efforts of publishers — this was a manifestation of the spirit of the Tatar people.
The subjects of publications were different — left-wing, democratic, right, bourgeois, conservative, monarchist, religious, democratic, literary, educational, satirical press reflected a cross-section of public life. Rashit Ibragimov's Ulfat newspaper covered the social life of Muslims, and the political newspaper, Suz, and even a family education magazine were published in Moscow. Iktisad magazine (Economy) was published in Samara.
A total of 120 Tatar publications appeared before the revolution. In terms of number, they were second only to Russian publications
The leadership of the Tatars was also evident in the Soviet period. Publishers of mass media of the peoples of Russia and some Union republics adopted the experience of the Tatars. The circulation of Tatar magazines and newspapers numbered in the hundreds of thousands, some approaching a million.
“Circulation is falling, delivery is getting more expensive and lame”
So it is now. Strong infrastructure, state support in Tatarstan help to survive. But globalisation and the general trend are destorying ethnoculture, including print one. Circulation is falling, delivery is getting more expensive and lame.
But in fact, the Internet does not destroy or displace publications, it can even help the Tatar press. Let operational information go on the network and TV, and serious content, ethnic culture feel good in classical media.
A remarkable report by the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications, which is being liquidated now, shows that people have more trust in print publications, and trust in the Internet is declining. In Europe -Germany, England — people continue to read newspapers and magazines. It is necessary to distinguish fake information from real content.
About 30 Tatar newspapers are published in the regions of the Russian Federation. Among them, there are the leaders of the Tatar press — Kyzyl Tan, Omet, Yanarysh and other newspapers from Ufa, Ulyanovsk, Izhevsk. In Nizhny Novgorod and Samara, respected magazines are published, mainly due to loyalty and enthusiasm. Ufa newspapers have good online versions. The future belongs to the multimedia press — we need both paper, electronic, and television formats that correspond to the current situation.
About 30 Tatar newspapers are published in the regions of the Russian Federation. Among them, there are the leaders of the Tatar press — Kyzyl Tan, Omet, Yanarysh and other newspapers from Ufa, Ulyanovsk, Izhevsk
There are many problems. These are small editorial offices, low salaries, and no fees.
District newspapers are in a difficult situation. They do not have incentives for qualified journalists with knowledge of the language. Duplication of texts about livestock farms and harvesting of bread, advertisements and congratulations on anniversaries, weddings does not infect love for the history and culture of the people, for the native language. There are facts of a return to dubbed versions of regional newspapers that were born as independent ones. For example, Bogelma Avazy newspaper, which opened 30 years ago in the wake of democracy and the struggle for sovereignty. But in Bugulma and the district, there live 40,000 Tatars!
“We are lagging behind the level of 1913"
Colleagues from Tatmedia are aware of these problems. It has probably been said dozens of times that there are no youth newspapers in Tatarstan. There are children's magazines and a youth magazine (Idel), but there is no socio-political newspaper. Tatarstan Yashlere lives at his own expense, for the aging audience. Former Komsomolets of Tatarii (Youth of Tatarstan) closed. At the same time, the federal Komsomolka and some regional “molodezhki” successfully form the public consciousness of today's youth, sometimes repainted in yellow, but, as a rule, maintaining a patriotic and entertaining appearance. In Kazan, where 150,000 students study, there is no student or sports newspaper. I do not know any youth sites with Tatarstan or Kazan origin. We do not have a tourist, economic newspaper or magazine, and there are no special popular websites. Everyone should cover mass general political publications and websites. Where are they?
It turns out that in terms of the range of topics and coverage of public circles, we are lagging behind the level of 1913! Not all regions (territories, republics), cities of compact residence of Tatars publish Tatar newspapers, magazines, not every ethnic and cultural organization maintains its own portal. The region, where 50-100 thousand Tatars live, sometimes exists without its own website, a symbolic newspaper published once a quarter or a month — this is our reality. What is missing is not so much money as imagination, brains, and soul!
Circulation is steadily declining, that's true. Ethnic media is considered to be uncompetitive. Not always! Founders and editors of publications, what have you done to ensure that you have decent content?
Circulation is steadily declining, that's true. Ethnic media is considered to be uncompetitive. Not always!
And the content often lacks relevance. Including social and national issues. Tatar mass media that are indifferent to ethnic identity, do not strengthen ethnic identity, do not cover the history, culture, education of Tatars, do not protect Tatarstan and their legitimate organisations, do not correspond to their high rank.
A people that does not read or watch its media resources is doomed to disappear along with its history and achievements. First of all, our newspapers, magazines, books, and online resources can be saved by their addressees, the Tatars themselves, and their ethno-cultural environment. And only then can we turn to the state and sponsors, and leaders. The Tatar press will survive if it meets its historical mission — to unite and preserve the people.
The author's opinion may not coincide with the position of the editorial board of Realnoe Vremya.