Media Dialogue Newsletter
Bishkek, 17 December, 2020
The Forum “Elechekke – Kelechek” (Future for Women) took place in Bishkek on December 16 to give a voice to women in Kyrgyzstan currently active in protecting and promoting democratic institutions, civil rights and freedoms. Representatives of mass media, local councils, professional communities, civil society, and business and media sectors, government, and parliament took part in the Forum. The Forum was initiated by the informal coalition of the media sector, civil society organizations, professional communities, bloggers / digital activists, and conducted with the support of the Media Dialogue project. Representatives of mass media discussed about freedom of expression as an essential condition for protecting women’s rights. “Freedom of speech gives women the opportunity to talk about social problems, violence, and feelings and to collectively seek effective solutions to complex problems faced by society. Freedom of speech allows women to be heard,” said Dina Maslova, founder of Kaktus Media. A legal assessment of the current situation and risks about citizens’ rights and freedoms was also discussed and Natalya Nikitenko, Chairperson of the Committee on Law Enforcement, Combating Crime and Combating Corruption of the Zhogorku Kenesh of Kyrgyz Republic noted that the new draft Constitution is a step back for democraticy and the protection of civil righst and freedoms: “All the gains of 2005 and 2010 were trampled underfoot. The parliamentary form of government remains the only possible way out for our people and country.” At the end of the Forum, the participants adopted the Appeal of the Forum “Elechekke – Kelechek, in which they expressed their full support for the initiatives of the broad public in defense of rights and freedoms, democratic institutions, the principles of secularity of the state and the rule of law in the Kyrgyz Republic.
On December 14, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy organized a discussion of legal analysis on access to information conducted in the framework of the Media Dialogue project. The analysis reviews the legal framework for Right to Information (RTI) in Kyrgyzstan, focusing mainly on the Access to Information (ATI) Law but also covering the Law on Guarantees of Information and other relevant laws. It highlights strengths and weaknesses in the legal framework and points to areas for reform along with specific recommendations, considering international standards on access to information. Representatives of civil society and lawyers attended the event. During the event, WFD local expert Nargiza Abdraimova has presented the analysis, it’s key findings and recommendations. Q&A session was followed by commentaries of participants on the recommendations and agreeing on the necessity of amendments to existing laws, complements to analysis by lawyers-practitioners and sentiments to take this document to further discussion that could lead to legislative changes.
On December 11, the Media Policy Institute (MPI), within the framework of the Media Dialogue project, held an online discussion “Freedom of Speech in the Basic Law.” During the event, MPI lawyers discussed with representatives of the media the threats and risks, essential points in the new edition of the Constitution that will affect freedom of speech, activities of journalists, and the media.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org or the Project Manager, Cholpon Nogoibaeva, email@example.com.
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.