The new information and analysis website, InfoShos.Ru, supported by Rospechat, Russia’s Federal Press and Mass Communications Agency, was presented to the participants, who included heads of Russia’s public associations, policy-makers, foreign diplomats, experts, scientists and artists, and reporters of profile mass media.
The opening address was made by Dr. Alexander Starunsky, psychologist, PCC member and president of regional public association “Infocivilization-XXI Century,” who said that SCO member states are currently facing new challenges and threats which need to be addressed using new civilian society resources. The PCC, he said, can, and must provide analytical and expert support for that.
Reporting on the PCC achievements made over the past twelve months, Starunsky mentioned InforShos.Ru and the PCC website, the editorial board formation, the regular working meetings of the PCC members, plans for further development of the PCC, and consultations with experts of Russia’s state-owned Vneshekonombank and of the SCO Business Council. He also spoke of the new PCC goals and objectives, including development of the PCC infrastructure and attracting additional resources. Dr. Starunsky also mentioned long-term plans to develop the InfoShos.Ru website into a web portal and then into a profile agency, and to provide a news coverage of SCO activities, especially of major events like the anti-terrorist training in Chebarkul, a city in Russia’s Urals District, the upcoming SCO summit in Bishkek in the summer of 2007, etc. He especially appreciated the assistance provided by the Russian Federation’s foreign ministry in various areas of the PCC operation.
Mikhail Bolshakov, editor-in-chief of the Russian news portal InfoRos, laid out the ideology of the new website, InfoShos.Ru, and described its goals, objectives, challenges and plans for the year 2007. According to him, the potential of the new web resource as an open discussion site will give a fresh impetus to the Shanghai cooperation development and help get new ideas for it; the website can be an important instrument in building a common information space within SCO. Speaking of challenges, he pointed out the need conduct sociological research of the potential target audiences, to seek additional sources of financing and to develop foreign-language versions of the website.
Denis Tyurin, PCC member and director of the InfoRos News Agency, shared his views of the new website’s goal of developing ways of interaction between representatives of different civilizations within SCO, and approaches to the SCO ideology as a new-type organization. He also talked about the themes and headings on the new website and the importance of feedback for its functioning.
The speech by Major General Leonid Shershnev (Rtd.), president of the National and International Security Foundation (NIMB), was devoted to the importance of this new website and its role in the SCO information support. He suggested defining priority issues common for all SCO nations, for instance, popularization of SCO as a union of civilizations with a potential to alter the current world order; and SCO expansion by admitting new member-civilizations like India and Iran. Shershnev said it would be advisable to admit Belarus and Ukraine, as it would make SCO a more “balanced” organization. His other proposal involved propagandizing, through InfoShos.Ru, the idea of a harmonious combination of SCO’s political and defense functions, and posting arguments to promote a more active role of its member states in international affairs.
Other participants in the discussion included S.Panteleyev, PCC member and director of the Russian Compatriots Abroad Institute, a Russian non-profit organization; V.Gorbanovsky, SCO problems expert; L.Gusev, representative of the SCO studies center at the Moscow State Foreign Relations Institute; S.Medvedeva, representative of the International Anti-Terrorist Media Forum under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), V.Potapenko from the Russian Federation’s foreign ministry.
In the wake of the roundtable debates, the participants agreed to develop multidimensional cooperation on the new website basis; pointed out the need for news coverage of all important economic projects in transportation and finance; and the need to create the SCO Intranet. The participants underlined the importance of humanitarian and moral aspects of the SCO activity. Alexander Starunsky pointed out the growing need to complement the Internet resources by other information channels (radio, press and television) to fully cover all target audiences. A decision was made to look at the possibility of conducting a number of informational events through InfoShos.Ru devoted to June 15 – the anniversary of SCO creation. The initiative was put forth by V.Potapenko.
The roundtable participants called upon all of the interested organizations, associations and companies in the SCO member states, businesspeople, scientific and academic communities in Russia, the CIS and the world to support and participate in the work of the new website.