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

Central Asia: March ‘08

Objectivity and analytical content of conflict prevention project appreciated across the region.
By IWPR
Central Asia analysts and journalists have spoken of the important role IWPR output plays in providing regular balanced, analytical reports on the region.



Their comments came in response to requests for feedback on IWPR’s two-year Central Asia Media & Civil Society Conflict Prevention and Confidence Building Programme, which drew to a close in March



The main aims of the project were to promote conflict prevention and to strengthen peace and stability in society, through reporting, journalism training and public discussion on important issues. To achieve these goals, project staff worked with NGOs, universities and officials in the region.



While project activity was located in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakstan, its reports covered all five countries in the Central Asian region, including Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.



The project produced regular features on these developments for local and international audiences, improving understanding of the issues amongst local journalists and civil society organisations



Kazak sociologist Gaziz Nasyrov said that with much of the Kazakstan media dominated by government newspapers and broadcasters, “IWPR is becoming one of the few sources of objective information about what is happening in the country.”



A Kazak journalist, Marina Baimukhamedova, said, “IWPR doesn’t hide existing problems and provides objective coverage of our country.”



An Uzbek journalist in Tashkent, one of the few remaining contacts for many foreign media, who therefore cannot be named, said, “Under existing conditions, especially valuable are IWPR’s efforts to provide information about Uzbekistan in a neutral way, involving balanced opinion from different experts, and wide surveys of representatives from various social groups.”



Another Uzbek journalist based in Kyrgyzstan told us that “without IWPR activity in Central Asia, it is hard to have a complete picture of this strategically important region.



“While many foreign outlets limit their coverage to occasional news stories, IWPR provides a deep and diverse analysis of the events that are of importance both for the region but also for the international community.”



Mars Sariev, a Kyrgyz political observer, said, “IWPR’s Central Asia coverage is very useful for the intellectual elite. It promotes more effective decision-making by politicians, who carefully monitor the analytic materials published by IWPR.”