Newsletter

Media Dialogue Newsletter № 42

Media Dialogue Newsletter
Bishkek, 8 April, 2021

 

Wide-scale consultations with representatives of the entire media sector and of the civil society are being organized by the Media Dialogue project with the aim of ensuring an inclusive and participatory drafting of the Information Policy Concept of the Kyrgyz Republic. To date, two of the priority areas of the Information Policy Concept – “Digital Sovereignty and Development of National Content” and “Media Education Adapted to Market and Audience Needs”. With regards to the latter, stakeholders noted that the Concept should promote optimization of the media education, and underlined the importance of making amendments to the state educational standards on journalistic education, reducing red tapes so that universities can quickly respond to innovations, the inclusion of new professions in the media sector, the introduction of online learning to improve the qualifications of both university students and practicing journalists. Today, April 8, other two priorities are being discussed: “Transformation of the Media Sector” and “State Legal Regulation of the Media Sector”. During the latter, the stakeholders will discuss how to integrate recommendations drafted by the Media Policy Institute and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in the framework of the Media Dialogue project into the Concept of Information Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic.

To enhance the participatory dimension the Concept, a Survey has been launched among the media sector representatives. The survey results will help to initiate necessary changes in the media sector. To take part in the survey, please use the following link: https://ru.surveymonkey.com/r/CDBS2GW.

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 March 20 to April 7, international and local experts conducted a series of meetings and consultations with higher education institutions providing journalism education to identify options for improving curricula and modernizing journalism education through practical training opportunities. “Journalism education in the post-Soviet countries has one common problem – it is an orientation towards theoretical disciplines and a great deal of attention to philology. The practical component does not always correspond to the modern requirements of the media industry. Universities do not keep up with all the changes that take place in the media, which concerns both the development of new technologies and the ability to work with them and new ethical and legal challenges that arise as a result of these changes. These are all the components we need to work on if we want young journalists to have the minimum required practical skills (and not just theoretical knowledge). I hope that the Media Dialogue project will support the universities of the region in paying more attention to the practical component in training future journalists,” – said Diana Dutsik, international media expert, Executive Director of the Public Organization Ukrainian Institute of Media and Communication, Instructor at the Mohyla School of Journalism.

On April 1-3, the Media Dialogue project, together with the National Mediation Center, conducted training on conflict-sensitive journalism and the legal aspects of the activities of journalists during the election period for representatives of regional multimedia centers, independent mass media, academics and students of journalism departments, Territorial Election Commissions, media sector and civil society of Osh, Batken and Jalal-Abad regions. The training covered such topics as causes of conflicts, conflict analysis tools, conflict-sensitive approach to journalism, hate speech in the media, fake news, and the importance of conflict analysis for journalists. Particular attention was paid to the session on information support for elections since the risks of conflicts increase during this period. “This training was beneficial for me, as I live in the bordering conflict-prone area and as a journalist, my task is also to cover the conflict situations adequately. Now I know how to maintain a conflict-sensitive approach in my work and realize that our role as journalists is vital in covering the conflict situation and preventing conflict situations. I liked how trainers used easy-to-digest tools for us to understand, e.g., using iceberg as a metaphor about conflict, that there are things above the surface that show themselves and then, there is all that is going on underneath, -said Aikokul, a journalist.

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.

The European Partnership for Democracy has been supporting the elaboration of the Information Policy Concept of the Kyrgyz Republic in the framework of the Media Dialogue project. A series of meetings of the Working Group  and stakeholers involved in developing the Information Policy Concept are continuing to take place

 

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