Timur Toktonaliev | Institute for War and Peace Reporting
I joined IWPR in September 2011 as editor for Kyrgyzstan, after some years as a trainee and contributing author. I have always closely followed current affairs in Kyrgyzstan. My first involvement with journalism came by accident in 2007 when I saw a television advertisement from Kloop Media Foundation offering journalism training courses. I was accepted, and that was where I learned about the profession – how to write articles and how to follow international standards of journalism.
I heard about IWPR in October 2007, when I was invited to take part in a training course on the standards employed in the Reporting Central Asia project. This taught me a lot of techniques that I was able to make use of. The participants were invited to write stories for IWPR, but I did not take this offer up because I thought editors would not want to work with a 14-year-old. In March 2009, IWPR Kyrgyz editor Aida Kasymalieva invited me to write for IWPR after reading my Kloop news agency stories. This came just as Kyrgyzstan announced a presidential election, and I pitched my first report on changes made to the voting procedures. This and other work I did for IWPR about the election gave me a better idea of how to tackle news analysis stories, and of how much effort goes into doing them.
I enjoy the writing process itself. Although IWPR follows international standards of journalism, it also has its own style and requirements. At first I wrote the way I used to before, but in time I came to understand this style better and I was glad to adopt it. It gives me pleasure when my stories contribute to IWPR’s output, and I am happy if readers find them helpful.
To me, being a journalist has become more than just a job or a way to earn a living. To be an independent, objective journalist in Kyrgyzstan, writing the truth about life in the country, is a very important and responsible profession, one to be proud of.