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 strengthens the professionalism and independence of media in the Kyrgyz Republic so that citizens have greater access to diverse and balanced information.

Duration: October, 2017 – October, 2022

Budget: $10,650,000

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

Media-K supports Kyrgyz media by:

  • Strengthening independent media outlets’ financial sustainability
  • Funding production of high-quality and engaging local content, including information campaigns on COVID-19, elections, media literacy, and journalist safety
  • Expanding the availability of high-quality journalism and content in the Kyrgyz language
  • Training journalists and other media professionals
  • Convening the media community at an annual forum, Media Toptoo
  • Supporting the introduction of TV audience measurement
  • Protecting the integrity of the local information ecosystem
  • Advocating for reforms and legal literacy in the media sphere
  • Supporting fact checking efforts and investigations into fake accounts on social media to mitigate disinformation and help citizens make informed choices, especially around election processes.

Media-K supports the Kyrgyz Government in the implementation of the National Development Strategy of the Kyrgyz Republic 2018-2040, the Concept of Information Policy of the Kyrgyz Republic 2021-2025, and the National Gender Strategy.

IMPACT AND RESULTS 

  • Media K provided training, mentorship, and financial assistance to 15 private TV, radio, and online outlets since 2017 to improve content production, audience engagement, and management. Over the support period, on average, the partners broadcast 13% more local content, grew their audiences by 60%, and increased ad revenues by 6.22%. In four years, the project has trained 1,575 media representatives.
  • In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis affected many independent media as the advertising market collapsed. The project’s emergency funding helped 13 media outlets maintain existing programs and continue coverage of important issues like the pandemic and ongoing elections. At least 10 outlets indicated that this support was crucial to their survival.
  • Ahead of the October 2020 parliamentary elections, Media-K ran a social media campaign #PoweroftheVoice to educate and mobilize young voters. The campaign generated 700,000 views across multiple platforms. According to the Central Elections Commission data, 50% of the people who voted in the 2020 elections were under the age of 30, up from 41%  in 2017. 
  • Media organizations have long called for modifying the Criminal Code which stipulated prison sentences for inciting hatred. This harsh measure was used to pressure civil activists and independent journalists, limiting freedom of expression. Media-K’s support to an advocacy campaign by Media Policy Institute succeeded in adding fines as a possible sanction for this offense.
  • Media-K has strengthened data journalism in the country by training 58 data journalists and setting up data desks at 7 newsrooms. The project’s partners produced 78 data-based publications on critical social issues. For example, Kloop Media’s investigation on gender-based violence in Kyrgyzstan received an international Sigma Award.
  • Media outlets and other content producers have published 2,930 pieces of content with Media-K support. This includes one of Kyrgyzstan’s most popular series about teenagers - Akyrky Sabak (The Last Lesson), which was broadcast on the State Television Channel, KTRK, and has been viewed more than 20 million times on YouTube.
  • Media-K supports content monitoring to mitigate cyberbullying and suspicious activity online. Content and accounts that incite violence or other harmful actions are reported to Facebook. As a result, the platform has deactivated 236 accounts and 1,550 pieces of content. 
  • The project sponsored the first-ever blogger festival, a professional platform for Central Asian social media influencers to share trends and best practices. Gathering over 250 bloggers from across the country, the event helped establish common values and ethical standards for bloggers.
  • Media-K engages women in training opportunities, leverages gender-relevant expertise in content production, and develops special projects dedicated to gender equality, preventing gender-based violence, and empowering women and girls. For example, a series of data stories produced by project-trained journalists helps to analyze and understand the problem of gender-based violence. Another project, a cartoon series titled Kyz Kyyal (Dream of A Girl), encourages positive role models by showing how girls strive in education and sports.

Last updated: March 30, 2022

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