Newsletter

Media Dialogue Newsletter № 41

Media Dialogue Newsletter
Bishkek, 1 April, 2021

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), jointly with PF “Civic Platform” within the frame of the Media Dialogue project, is leading a campaign to prevent hate speech ahead of local elections in Kyrgyzstan. On March 25-31 online discussion took place with candidates from 18 cities, who were informed about the legal aspects of the use of hate speech and discussed the Petition recently launched by youth groups engaged in the campaign. The youth urged candidates to promote tolerant language through their campaign, and to refrain from resorting to trolling and incitements to violence. Participants agreed that the Petition could be considered as a message and a code of conduct for candidates during the campaign period. Gulnara Jurabaeva, a member of the Central Election Commission, noted with regards to the campaign: “Hate speech is found in everyday life. We are all vulnerable on different grounds, especially young people. It is important to understand and reveal the essence of hate speech. It is important that such discussions help the candidates/political parties and their representatives not to use hate speech during the campaign and learn about the responsibility for the use of hate speech”.

On March 31 Media Dialogue project gathered stakeholders involved in developing the Information Policy Concept. The main objective of this meeting was to discuss the analysis of the legislation in terms of freedom of speech, mass media, and the right to information conducted in the framework of the Media Dialogue project, and to discuss the integration of the findings into the Information Policy Concept. Expert-lawyer of Media Policy Institute Akmat Alagushev presented the Legal Analysis of the Law of KR “On Mass Media”, prepared by MPI in 2020 within the frames of the Media Dialogue project. Representative of Westminster Foundation for Democracy, Nargiza Abdraimova, presented the Analysis of the Kyrgyz Legal Framework for the Right to Information, also conducted within the frames and Media Dialogue project. Finally, Semetei Amanbekov, Chief Editor of Elgezit.kg, presented the Analysis of the draft Constitution in terms of freedom of speech and mass media aspects. “The current edition of the Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On Mass Media” has a major omission: the lack of a single concept of “mass media.” Such an approach can negatively affect the work of the media and enable some subjects of state power to interpret the provisions of this law in different ways. The media is viewed as an object on one hand and as a subject on the other hand,” said Akmat Alagushev.

E-newspaper Elgezit.kg, within the framework of the grants program of the Media Dialogue project administered by the European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA), completed the implementation of a project aimed at informing vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities, about their voting rights during the 2020 parliamentary elections and amid the coronavirus pandemic. The publications within the framework of the information campaign reached 267 978 users of social media. Besides, publications directly on the Elgezit.kg website for the reporting period had total coverage of 98,841 visitors. As a result, the grant project contributed to revealing many violations at polling stations, especially in remote, rural areas of the country, which did not meet the requirements of the legislation to ensure the electoral rights of persons with disabilities. Also, the information campaign drew attention of state and regulatory bodies to the problem of ensuring equal electoral rights for persons with disabilities.

The European Partnership for Democracy within the frames of the Media Dialogue project is conducting a curriculum analysis and needs assessment in journalism education in Kyrgyzstan. From 20 March to 7 April  international and local experts are conducting a series of meetings and consultations with higher institutions providing journalism education to identify options for improving curricula and for modernizing journalism education through practical training opportunities.

The Media Dialogue project is funded by the European Union and runs until end of 2021. Its objective is to harness the power of the media in safeguarding conflict-free elections. We have been delivering training and capacity-building activities to help media actors supply accurate and trustworthy election-related content to the citizens of Kyrgyzstan so that they can make informed choices.

We work with print, online and broadcast media outlets as well as production houses, individual journalists, online activists and influencers. Our events serve to improve their editorial standards, upgrade their digital skills, and inject an innovative spirit into the content they produce. The project is engaging government officials, parliamentary deputies, non-governmental and civil society organisations as well as members of the Central Electoral Commission and its territorial branches in an effort to create a more conducive election environment. We collaborate with the media and civil society communities to enhance self-regulation in the media sector and make it more robust and resilient to political manipulation or restrictive measures.

Our programme includes activities to increase the economic independence of the media by providing monetisation workshops, innovative digital content generation events and innovative media start-ups initiatives. We also cooperate with Kyrgyz universities and institutions providing journalism education to boost their curricula and link them up with European counterparts through exchange programmes. All our activities are delivered by a mix of international and local trainers and consultants exploiting areas of expertise offered by each of the Consortium Partners.

For more information about the Project or current and forthcoming opportunities, please get in touch with our Communications Specialist Asylgul Akimjanova at +996504222405, asylgulakimjanova@epd.eu  or the Project Manager, Cholpon Nogoibaeva, cholponnogoibaeva@epd.eu.

In response to the evolving COVID-19 situation, Media Dialogue has been adjusting its activities in line with WHO recommendations and national regulations of the countries involved in the project. Our priority is not to expose any beneficiaries, experts or staff to risks associated with the virus but at the same time to continue delivering the planned Action with every effort made to meet its objectives and maintain its effectiveness in the limiting and challenging circumstances.

 

 

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