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Reporter Shortlisted for Regional Prize

Kyrgyz contributor selected as finalist in Asian journalism award for an article on controversial privatisations in her country.

Asyl Osmonalieva, IWPR’s long-term contributor in Kyrgyzstan, was selected as a finalist in the Developing Asia Journalism Awards.

The awards scheme, run by the Asian Development Bank Institute, honours “excellence in journalistic reporting by those covering development trends and issues in the region”.

Asyl’s entry for the contest was an article she wrote for IWPR entitled Kyrgyzstan’s Controversial “Winter Sale”, published in January 2009.

This year’s ADB awards were for journalistic reporting on the global financial crisis, and Asyl’s article was submitted for the category dealing with government responses to this problem.

The article looked at the latest phase of privatisations in Kyrgyzstan, in which the government was accused of selling strategic assets at knock-down prices at the worst possible time, given that the Central Asian state was being hit hard by multiple economic problems caused by the crisis.

Asyl said the high journalistic standards taught by IWPR helped her produce the short-listed piece.

Along with 21 other finalists from Central, South and East Asia, Asyl traveled to Tokyo in October for a training programme on economic, financial and environmental reporting. The award winners were announced on October 23.

“This is the most prestigious award for journalists in Asia and it’s an honour for me to be a finalist,” she told IWPR. “According to the organisers, more than 200 entries were submitted this year and the selection criteria were rigorous. Rather than seeking to represent all the countries in the region, they made their judgements on the merits of the articles.”

IWPR’s Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan editor Aida Kasymalieva has been a finalist in the Developing Asia competition on three previous occasions – in 2005 and 2006 with reports written for IWPR; and in 2008 with a piece published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Also in September, two IWPR contributors were runners-up in a radio journalism contest held by Internews in Kyrgyzstan – Rita Borbukeeva for her piece Recriminations Fly After Election Protests; and Ulukbu Amirova with Unregistered Marriages Offer Little Protection.