Media Dialogue Newsletter #45

Media Dialogue Newsletter
Bishkek, 29 April, 2021

Since January 2021, wide-scale consultations with representatives of the media sector and 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. After months of joint work, on April 29 – May 1 a conference will take place to discuss the first draft of the Information Policy Concept, which was drafted by am interdepartmental working group and experts following analyses and consultations with all interest groups. The conference will be attended by representatives of the media sector, government agencies, legal experts, bloggers, digital activists, and academic circles, and aims at incorporating feedback and recommendations from all stakeholders in the final document and to finalize the draft Concept. The event will also strengthen collaborative links among stakeholders and enhance accountability for the implementation of the Concept.

On April 26, the Media Dialogue project hold its third public Media Dialogue Talk, devoted to the topic of “Analytical Journalism – How to Create Analytical Content for a Broader Audience”. The event’s main speaker was Mikhail Fishman, a prominent Russian journalist, TV presenter, author of the project “And so on” on the TV channel “Rain”. For the video of the event, please check out our website. Media Dialogue Talks are monthly seminars to facilitate exchange of international experiences and the creation of collaborative links amongst the community of media, civil society and digital activists of Kyrgyzstan.

On April 23, the Independent Union of Journalists of Kyrgyzstan organized a round table “Using modern technologies to monitor hate speech in the media and social networks during the election period” within the framework of the grant program of the Media Dialogue project, administered by the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA). The event aimed at developing recommendations for improving the hate speech monitoring algorithm and the website, which was developed within the frames of the Media Dialogue grant program. The project’s goal was to study hate speech during the October 2020 parliamentary election campaign. “We conducted monitoring of hate speech in the most popular social media in the country, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the resources of more than 40 media portals accredited by the CEC of the Kyrgyz Republic to cover the elections and post-campaign materials in Kyrgyz and Russian languages. In total, 3016 articles of internet media outlets of Kyrgyzstan were processed using automatic parsing. The tool we used is unique, as an expert linguist developed a tonal dictionary in Kyrgyz”, – said Azamat Kasybekov, chairman of the Independent Union of Journalists. You can read more about the hate speech monitoring here.

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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