An efficient struggle against extremist activity and other informational threats is not possible without coordinated and harmonious work of the media and civil society. Such a conclusion was made by the research company “Promotank” which presented its analytical report on information security. The document reflects the main challenges and recommendations of the institute, particularly on enhancing media and digital literacy of the population, improvement of access to reliable and balanced information, the strengthening of sustainable cooperation between media and civil society as well as professional capacity of journalists. This analytical report was discussed during the regional media conference “Media and civil society partnership to counter information threats and promote transparency and accountability” organized at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek on 29-30 March 2016.
More than 100 representatives of media, civil society and civil servants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated at the conference, as well as international experts and trainers from the United Kingdom, Mongolia and Romania. The latest trends in media development in Central Asia, methods to counter propaganda of extremism and terrorism, new formats of information flow, and Internet security issues were addressed during the conference.
“We hope that participants at the conference will be able to establish networks with colleagues from different countries, share and exchange experiences, get new ideas and improve their skills on promotion of transparency and accountability. In its turn, “Internews in Kyrgyzstan” is going to select one or a few best projects ideas, which will be presented by the participants at the end of conference, in order to provide seed funding for implementation of those ideas” – Ms. Corina Cepoi, Director of “Internews in Kyrgyzstan” highlighted in her welcome speech.
Ms. Ainura Temirbekova, Deputy Minister of culture, tourism and information of the Kyrgyz Republic, generalized the experience of Kyrgyzstan and the Ministry in particular regarding the involvement of the civil society to solve the problems in the media sphere. She has also mentioned the role of public authorities in the transition process to digital broadcasting, media self-regulation and the design of the state information policy.
“As it is known, the most effective way to prevent information threats is cooperation among civil society, government and independent media. Currently, Kyrgyzstan has an important aim, fixed in the National Strategy of Sustainable Development approved by the President of the country, which is the transition towards better quality and higher level of development. Kyrgyzstan has a leading position on freedom of speech in Central Asia and we are doing our best in order to retain this achievement and advantage” – Ms. Ainura Temirbekova said.
Dr. Pal Dunay, the OSCE Academy’s Director, highlighted that the media sphere has many constraints. It ranges from incompetence, corruption, financial dependence and that is also sometimes subject to self-censorship. “These are far more current dangers than "official censorship". These phenomena must be fought urgently” – Dr. Dunay added.
On March 30, 2016, international and regional trainers will hold Master Classes at the American University of Central Asia. Master Classes will cover Internet security, new tools to expose online hoaxes and fake news, fundraising and others.
The conference was organized jointly by the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Internews in Kyrgyzstan, Soros Foundation – Kyrgyzstan, the OSCE Centre in Bishkek and the research company “Promotank”.