Media Dialogue Newsletter #30

Media Dialogue Newsletter #30
Bishkek, 14 January, 2021

  On the eve of the presidential elections, on January 8, 2021, on behalf of a wide range of commercial and non-profit organizations and citizens of Kyrgyzstan, the Media Policy Institute published an appeal addressed to the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic U.O. Niyazbekov. The purpose of the appeal was to remind the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the obligation to ensure the media’s smooth functioning when covering elections. The appeal pointed out that “(…) law enforcement agencies should assist journalists in obtaining information affecting the rights of citizens, and in cases of violation of this provision of the law by other citizens, stop such actions, and take measures to bring the perpetrators to justice”.

With contributions from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy’s team, Ben Graham Jones – a freelance consultant on elections and an expert in social media monitoring methodologies – shed lights on the innovative approaches to monitor instances of hate speech online pioneered in the framework of the Media Dialogue project by Kloop media and the Independent Union of Journalists of Kyrgyzstan. Here you can read the article Monitoring Online Hate Speech in the Kyrgyzstan Election.

A training on basic legal skills for bloggers and digital activists was held on January 12 in Bishkek within the framework of the Media Dialogue project. Two legal experts – Iskender Kakeev from the Public Foundation “Legal Clinic Adilet” and Batyr Bolotbekov, coordinator of the Public Foundation “Voice of Freedom” provided training sessions. During the training, the participants got acquainted with international and national mechanisms to protect human rights and human rights defenders, the main stages of criminal proceedings, and the types of participants in criminal proceedings. The lawyers explained the grounds for the detention and charge, and how to protect your rights in case of detention. The topic of legal provision applying to the online environment was also touched upon.

On January 12, the European Partnrship for Democracy met with the Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic (MinCIT KR) Nurzhigit Kadyrbekov. As the MinCIT is working to the development of the Concept of Information Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic, Minister Kadyrbekov expressed gratitude for cooperation in 2020 and said that the Ministry looks forward to furthering collaboration in developing the Concept. Media sector representatives’ ideas for the development of this documented started already in September 2020 during the workshop “Development of the media sector of Kyrgyzstan through dialogue”. A joint workshop on the development of the Concept of Information Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic will now be held on January 15 with the participation of the mass media, media organizations, the NGO sector, MinCIT and other state bodies. Cholpon Nogoibaeva, project manager of the Media Dialogue project, noted: “In the framework of the Media Dialogue project, we work for the involvement of the media sector so that not only the state agencies, but all relevant parties are involved in the development process and further in the implementation of the Concept”.

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,  or the Project Manager, Cholpon Nogoibaeva,

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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