Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Central Asia: Apr ‘08

Relaunched analytical reporting service provides unique insights into developments in closed, authoritarian states.
IWPR’s specialist news analysis agency NBCA has resumed production after a short break, with the focus of reporting on two of the most tightly-controlled countries in Central Asia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Unlike the rest of the region, the two countries have no independent media, so the NBCA output provides a unique insight into developments there.

The resumption of the service, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, began with a training workshop in Bishkek for several Uzbek and Turkmen journalists.

During the two-day event, the participants received basic journalism skills training and instruction in news analysis production, which looked at subjects such as lead writing, story selection, sourcing and interview techniques.

The first crop of stories published in March and April in English and Russian were picked up by local and international online media outlets that have traditionally reprinted IWPR’s Turkmen and Uzbek output, such as,,,, Internews Kazakstan, (Uzbek service) and English-language Times of Central Asia weekly.

Uzbek and Turkmen commentators welcomed the resumption of the service, urging IWPR to persevere with reporting from both countries, despite the difficulties involved in information gathering and getting hold of impartial sources.

One Uzbek journalist told us that “IWPR reporting helps direct local government’s attention to issues, which local media, for many reasons, do not dare to raise”.

A Tashkent-based commentator said the coverage of Uzbekistan was commendable given the difficulty reporters face contacting “officials, spokespersons and legitimate politicians, and the shortage of neutral, politically objective experts”.

In the next phase of the project, IWPR will promote Turkmen and Uzbek output among websites with content in these languages, as well as Russian and English-language outlets with an interest in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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