In Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, DW Akademie supports community media, the media literacy of young people and the training of journalists and media managers.
Although Uzbekistan’s press freedom ranking has risen in recent years, it remains low, ranked by Reporters Without Borders’ 2023 World Press Freedom Index at 137 out of 180 countries. Websites and social media platforms continue to be censored, and bloggers and media professionals face arrests if their reports contradict the interests of Uzbek politicians.
In 2023, Kyrgyzstan's ranking dropped from position 72 (2022) to position 122. Critical journalists have been arrested and independent media are under massive pressure. Kloop, for example, an online news platform that DW Akademie has worked with, has been blocked in the country – which often means the loss of advertising clients and sponsors for independent media outlets. Once considered to be an island of democracy in Central Asia, the country has become a dictatorship.
In Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, DW Akademie supports providing rural populations with current reliable information services. The goal is for people to become more active in the media and thus participate more effectively in the political and social changes taking place in their countries.
In Uzbekistan's most northern region, Karakalpakstan, and its northwestern region Khwarazm, community media are now producing reliable information relevant to those living in local areas. In Kyrgyzstan's rural areas, thirty community media in rural Kyrgyzstan are being strengthened, as well.
For this, DW Akademie works with the Kyrgyz Community Media Association (CMA), which then shares insights with its Uzbek partners.
DW Akademie is also active in the education sector and focuses on two areas: the ongoing training of media professionals and, over the long term, the introduction of media and information literacy (MIL) to schools.
In 2019, DW Akademie launched the Media School Uzbekistan which qualifies journalists and media managers and shows them how to work independently of state funding. DW Akademie has also equipped the country’s University of Journalism and Mass Communication, which opened in 2018, with a radio studio.
To help young people better counter disinformation, DW Akademie, together with the Uzbek Modern Journalism Development Center, will be introducing MIL in school curricula over the long term. This has already been achieved in Kyrgyzstan. A study has been conducted of Uzbek students’ and teachers’ MIL skills, and teachers have taken part in initial MIL trainings. School students have also participated in an MIL summer camp.
Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Lydia Rahnert
Locations: Tashkent, Bishkent
Local partners: Modern Journalism Development Center (MJDC, Uzbekistan), Community Media Association (DMA, Kyrgyzstan), Media Sabak Foundation (MSF, Kyrgyzstan), Public Broadcast Company (KTRK), Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, Internews
Focus: Qualification, professionalism and financial sustainability of the media sector, social participation, participation of disadvantaged groups, (local) interactive media content and community media, media and information literacy (MIL)