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

Central Asia: July/Aug ‘07

Journalism teachers and students believe new IWPR manual will serve as an important training resource in the region.
A Russian-language IWPR conflict reporting training manual has been distributed to around 500 media organisations and journalism faculties at universities across Central Asia.

The launch of the new title in Bishkek in July, was timed for the start of the new academic year.

Teaching staff and journalists alike have welcomed the new publication, a Russian translation of a standard IWPR training handbook, Reporting for Change: A Handbook for Local Journalists in Crisis Areas

Marina Sivasheva, head of the journalism programme at the American University - Central Asia, regards the manual as a valuable contribution to journalism teaching.

“The book is a sound publication that deals not only with journalism but also ethical problems. Because of its range of content, it’s useful for anyone who works in the media sector. The provision of practical exercises promotes discussion in the classroom,” she said.

Svetlana Gafarova, head of the Center of Social Information and Forecasting in the city of Osh, which helped distribute the handbook among journalists in southern Kyrgyzstan, believes it fills a gap in the training materials available for student journalists.

“There is a great variety of content developed mainly for journalists in Russia. Manuals of this kind are necessary for us, as they are breath of fresh air, assisting both beginners and their more experience colleagues,” she said.

Gulnura Toralieva, programme director at the Institute for Public Policy in Bishkek, said the manual will help journalists write for international audiences, “It’s an excellent guide to international journalism for local journalists.”

Ravshan Abdullaev, a young journalist from Tajikistan, said she found passages of the book dealing with the personal experiences of IWPR journalists particularly useful.

“The experience of IWPR journalists who reported from conflict zones is very important for us. There was a civil war in Tajikistan and the most terrible lack of information. I've read in the new manual that journalists were risking their lives to do their work. This book is useful for young journalists, because it teaches them how to operate.”

Tajik journalist Nafisa Pisaredjeva, who also writes for IWPR, suggested that the publication might in future include a chapter on IWPR trainers’ experience of working with Central Asia journalists. “We have something to learn from the them and they have something to learn from us,” she said.

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