Media Dialogue Newsletter
Bishkek, 25 March, 2021
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) is leading a hate speech campaign ahead of local elections in Kyrgyzstan in the framework of the Media Dialogue project. A series of online discussions took place on March 23 – 24 with youth activists, bloggers, youth representatives of CSOs, and university students on preventing and countering the use of hate speech during the elections. The discussions kicked off with a presentation of the identification of “hate speech” according to Kyrgyzstani laws and its use during the election campaign period. Participants discussed what kind of behaviour youth and civil society want to see candidates abide by during the election campaign. Their ideas and recommendations will be included in an open statement addressed to candidates. Moreover, from 25 March until 1 April online discussions with the candidates to city councils from 21 cities will be conducted to raise awarenees on countering hate speech practices during the pre-election campaign.
On March 24-25, the Media Dialogue project is conducting training on legal issues of cybersecurity, basics of cybersecurity, and digital hygiene for the representatives of mass media, civil society organizations, and digital activists. Training sessions are conducted by the experts and trainers of the Civil Initiative on Internet Policy. “I realized that until today, I did not follow elementary rules of digital security. Thus, the training was useful for us, as we received insights to digital rights, digital data protection, and cybersecurity. The training sessions were conducted in an engaging and easy-to-digest mode,” – said Asel Zhumalieva, a Deputy of the Local Council of Nizhniy Ala-Archa Rural County. This training was conducted in Russian, and similar training in Kyrgyz language will occur in April.
On April 1-3, the Media Dialogue project, together with the National Mediation Center, will conduct trainings 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 will cover 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 will be paid to the session on information support for elections, since the risks of conflicts increase during this period.
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, email@example.com or the Project Manager, Cholpon Nogoibaeva, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.