Cultivating Media Independence Initiative (Media-K)

International experts discuss media development during Media Toptoo industrial forum organized under the project.
International experts discuss media development during Media Toptoo industrial forum organized under the project.
Internews Kyrgyzstan

Duration:  October 1, 2017 – August 31, 2020

Budget: $5.9 million

Implementing Partner: Representative office of Internews Network in the Kyrgyz Republic

Key Partners: Media Policy Institute, Yntymak, NTS, TV1KG, Kloop Media, Kaktus Media, Politklinika, Salam Radio

Activity Locations: Nationwide

Media-K is a three-year project funded by USAID and implemented by Internews and FHI 360. The project provides comprehensive support to selected media outlets, administers small grants for the production of high-quality local content, runs journalism trainings, brings the media community together at an annual conference, works towards the development of audience measurement capabilities, and supports local organizations’ efforts to advocate for key reforms in the media sphere.

CONTEXT

Despite the progress that has been made in recent years, Kyrgyzstani media outlets still face challenges in adopting the professional market approach needed to grow their audiences and their revenues, and in working with other media stakeholders to advocate for a more enabling legal environment.

PROJECT GOAL

Media-K aims to strengthen the professionalism and independence of media in the Kyrgyz Republic in order to ensure that citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic have greater access to diverse and balanced information, are less vulnerable to media bias, and are empowered to make better-informed civic decisions that reflect their communities’ priorities to best serve the public interest.

MAJOR FOCUS AREAS

  • Increase domestic production of engaging multimedia content that responds to the preferences of viewers, widens audiences, and boosts advertising revenues.
  • Support media organizations to better identify and take advantage of opportunities to increase advertising revenues. Partners use reliable audience research to maximize the full range of airtime, better target audiences, and demonstrate value to advertisers. Increased revenues allow partners to exert greater independence. 
  • Better coordinate stakeholders’ efforts to develop the media sector. Prioritize advocacy to foster media freedom, enable a stronger advertising market, and stimulate media professionalism.

EXPECTED IMPACT AND RESULTS 

  • Following the selection of the project’s first set of Key Media Partners, Media-K conducted organizational assessments and content analysis at each of the seven outlets. The resulting individual Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs), developed in collaboration with each Key Partner, will be used as a road map for interventions over the next year.

  • In April 2018, Media-K held its first Media Toptoo Industrial Forum, at which media professionals from different regions of the Kyrgyz Republic had the opportunity to meet and discuss trends and challenges in their constantly changing media environments. The Forum united journalists and laid the foundation for an association of media outlets to solve sector-wide issues.

  • In addition to hosting the annual conference, Media-K provided various educational trainings, workshops, and master classes to media professionals, inviting trainers from Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S., in addition to experienced local trainers. Throughout Year 1, more than 350 media professionals (175 men and 180 women) participated in these Media-K’s educational opportunities.

  • The Stremlenie professional journalism award ceremony concluded the Media Toptoo Forum. This award highlighted the best journalistic work published in the Kyrgyz Republic in 2017, encouraging competition and stimulating the market for higher-quality content. The country has not had a similar industry-supported award since 2009.

  • Media-K’s mediation efforts over the past year have helped to resolve several high-profile cases brought against media outlets and journalists by high-ranking government officials. This has positively affected the country’s freedom of speech environment. Additionally, the Media Policy Institute, a Media-K partner, provided 92 legal consultations to journalists in need.

  • Media-K is currently accepting applications to measure TV audiences in the Kyrgyz Republic using advanced peoplemeter technology. This will be the culmination of more than five years of Internews’ efforts to mobilize the media and advertising markets to participate in the peoplemeter project. Given such efforts, the Media Industrial Committee (MIC), a newly-formed association of media outlets and advertising agencies, will launch a large-scale audience measurement project. MIC will lead the process, developing a strong sense of ownership among its members, who will contribute at least 70 percent of the funding for the peoplemeters; USAID will invest about 30 percent through Media-K.

Last updated: April 23, 2019

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