Access to Information (A2I)

Journalists practicing during the cross-border exchange program
Journalists practicing during the cross-border exchange program at Otyrar media holding in Shymkent, Kazakhstan
USAID / Kyrgyz Republic

Duration: October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2017

Regional Budget: $3,799,390

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

Key Partners: Kloop, Media Policy Institute

Activity Locations: Kyrgyz Republic, Kazkhstan, Tajikistan

The project works to increase citizen access to civically-relevant information in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan in order to improve governance in these countries.

MAJOR FOCUS AREAS

The program works to increase citizen access to civically-relevant information through four complementary objectives:

  • Increase regional cooperation to improve the competitiveness of non-state media outlets through content generation and sharing.
  • Increase resilience of independent media to survive the impending, treaty-mandated shift to digital broadcasting across Central Asia.
  • Strengthen diversity and professionalism of voices in traditional and “new” media.
  • Improve the legal and policy environment for media.

EXPECTED RESULTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

Kyrgyz Republic

  • Internews conducted the second annual A2I regional conference for media professionals on September 22-23, 2016. The event created a platform for more than 90 participants representing the media sector and NGOs from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan to develop ties, exchange experiences, and discuss the challenges they are facing in the digital transition process. Invited experts conducted master classes for local media on building audiences and using shared tools for better audience engagement. The event also inspired the Tajik government to visit Kyrgyzstan to learn from the Kyrgyz experience in shifting to digital broadcasting.
  • The Annual Social and Media Innovation Lab provided seed funding to support projects that unite the efforts of Central Asian NGOs, media, and IT. Nine teams from three countries, supported by mentors and trainers, transformed their ideas into functioning prototypes during the two-day event. The winner of the 2016 Lab, Oasis Kyrgyzstan, successfully launched the «BilimBelek» web platform to support ongoing education and career development opportunities for former residents of orphanages.
  • Fourteen journalists, editors, and producers from independent media outlets from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan increased their skills in content development using modern multimedia tools as a result of participation in the second annual cross-border exchange program to public TV/radio channel Yntymak (Osh).
  • In 2016, the Newsroom 2.0 residency helped two media outlets in Kyrgyzstan work through their technical issues. They started to use new multimedia tools to create interactive stories, publish information that attracts audiences, and developed online promotion strategies that incorporate social media and search engine optimization techniques. One of the participants of the Newsroom 2.0 residency Zanoza.kg managed to increase its page views and sell off 80% of its ad space.
  • About 2,000 media professionals benefited from nearly 50 free webinars organized by Internews, including 12 webinar in Kyrgyz language. Participants learned about multimedia production, professional techniques, and media management strategies directly from experts from across the region and beyond. The webinar video recordings were later viewed more than 100,000 times online.
  • Two grantees of the project under the Diversity of Media Voices, Demge-dem media-center and Suusamyr FM received awards at a national competition devoted to enhancing financial literacy in Kyrgyzstan.
  • As a result of joint efforts by Internews and Media Policy Institute, provisions limiting foreign funding of media outlets were revised in draft legislation after the last parliamentary hearings in December 2016, thereby protecting major alternative voices from threat of closure.

Last updated: March 28, 2017

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