Media Dialogue Newsletter
Bishkek, 26 November, 2020
On November 24, the Media Dialogue project facilitated a meeting with media chief editors, civil society representatives, bloggers / digital activists and the expert community consisting of lawyers, economists, political and socio-economic experts in Bishkek to discuss avenues for strengthening the independent information space and to safeguard freedom of speech in the Kyrgyz Republic. The meeting was called after the draft of a proposed new Constitution was posted on the website of Zhogorku Kenesh, which includes elements that could seriously harm freedom of speech in the country. The participants emphasized the need to join forces and produce quality content to raise awareness on these potential harmful elements. Semetey Amanbekov, one of the participants and a Deputy Head of the Independent Union of Journalists, emphasized that “Article 23 of the draft Constitution threatens freedom of speech. It is important to have a platform where we [representatives of media and civil society] can all communicate, share information and raise awareness on this threat, in an effort to prevent any infringement of freedom of speech and attacks on journalists.” Participants agreed to regularly hold periodic meetings to discuss avenues to safeguard freedom of speech, and to invite journalists and editors of state media as well to the next meeting.
The Media Dialogue project jointly with the Women’s Democracy Network will also support the facilitation of series of roundtable discussions gathering representatives of local municipalities, public organizations, civil activists, professional communities, and media sector, planned to be held in the regions of Kyrgyzstan from November 26 to December 12. The discussion will focus on the current status and challenges to freedom of speech, the legitimacy of the constitutional reform, and constitutional deliberation.
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, at +996504222407, 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.