Cultivating Media Independence Initiative (Media-K)

Speeches Shim

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

Media-K is a five-year project that helps to strengthen the professionalism and independence of media in the Kyrgyz Republic so that citizens have greater access to diverse and balanced information. 

Duration: October 1, 2017 – September 31, 2022

Budget: $9,699,000

Implementing Partner: FHI360 and Representative office of Internews Network in the Kyrgyz Republic

Key Partners: Media Policy Institute, NTS, TV1KG, Kloop Media, Kaktus Media, Politklinika, Salam Radio, 24.kg, Govori TV, Maral TV, Elgezit, Lubimyi TV

Activity Locations: Nationwide

MAJOR FOCUS AREAS

Despite recent progress, Kyrgyzstani media outlets still struggle to adopt professional market approaches to grow their audiences and their revenues. The COVID-19 crisis and political turbulence in the country have only exacerbated this situation. Outlets also face challenges in working with other media stakeholders to advocate for a more enabling legal environment.

Media-K strengthens the professionalism and independence of media by:

  • strengthening independent media outlets’ financial sustainability under difficult conditions
  • funding production of high-quality and engaging local content, including information campaigns on COVID-19, elections, media literacy, and journalist safety
  • training journalists and other media professionals
  • bringing the media community together at an annual forum
  • assisting in introduction of TV audience measurement
  • protecting the integrity of the local information ecosystem
  • advocating for reforms and legal literacy in the media sphere
  • supporting factchecking efforts and investigations into fake accounts on social media to mitigate disinformation and help citizens make informed choices, especially around election processes.

IMPACT AND RESULTS 

  • Media-K's comprehensive support to 15 private TV, radio, and online outlets over the course of three years built their capacity in quality content production, audience engagement, and management. Through project trainings, mentorship, and financial assistance, on average, the partners broadcast 13% more local content, grew their audiences by 60%, and increased ad revenues by 6.22% over their period of support.
     
  • Emergency funding from Media-K in 2020 helped 13 private media outlets to blunt the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and revenues lost due to the collapse of the advertising market. Supported outlets were able to maintain existing and launch new programs and production processes as well as expand pandemic, election, local language, and other crucial coverage.
     
  • Over the project’s first three years, media outlets, independent studios, and other content producers created and published 1,576 pieces of content, including 122 hours of video, with project support. 35 media outlets rebroadcast or republished these pieces, demonstrating demand for high-quality, locally-produced and locally-relevant content.
     
  • A Media-K supported group of fact checkers released nearly 100 publications verifying news and debunking rumors related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts helped to reduce the burden on their journalist peers, provide audiences with access to verified and trustworthy information, and spark responses from authorities. In turn, audiences requested more verification of suspicious information, showing increased trust.
     
  • Media-K's #PoweroftheVoice information campaign aimed at persuading youth to get informed and vote in the October 2020 parliamentary elections received a total of 700,000 views across multiple online platforms. According to data from the Central Elections Committee, 50 percent of the people who voted in the 2020 elections were under 30, up from 41 percent in 2017.
     
  • Building on successes in creating a cadre of data journalists in the country in its first two years, Media-K helped Kloop Media, Kaktus Media, and 24.kg launch permanent data desks which produced 16 data stories in 2020. These data desks united their efforts to convert all available information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Kyrgyzstan into an automatically updating open-source database, the first and only non-governmental resource of this kind.
     
  • 2,359 people took part the project’s first three years of trainings. Media-K adapted to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, conducting 26 trainings and its third annual Media Toptoo Industrial Forum online. Media Toptoo is the country’s only forum for discussing issues facing the media industry and has led to lasting ties and exchanges between media actors and experts. The Zoom conference brought together 234 participants, and sessions streamed on Facebook were available to the wider public for the first time. The Stremlenie (Aspiration) Awards have become a measure of professionalism in the field and a motivating factor for journalists to continue to create better content, furthering the development of the country’s information sphere.
     
  • In addition to providing legal consultations and mediation that have helped to resolve multiple high-profile cases against media players in the Kyrgyz Republic, Media-K and partner organization the Media Policy Institute (MPI) have been heavily involved in responding to various governmental and parliamentary legislative initiatives that have had the potential to negatively affect the media environment in the country, including during the state of emergency in spring 2020 and the political crisis in October 2020.

Last updated: May 06, 2021

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