15 young journalists from Kyrgyz- and Uzbek-language print, radio and online media outlets had a chance to attend training, which took place in Bishkek on 24-28th of April, 2012. The event was organized in the framework of School of Peacemaking and Media Technology by the “Network of Social Mediators” Public Foundation. The project is funded by Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The training went under the supervision of professional foreign trainers — Ashot Melikyan from Armenia, Arif Aliyev from Azerbaijan and Eran Fraenkel from the USA. All three have a solid practical experience and skills of advancing peacemaking via media in the conflict regions. The techniques are generally based on the peacemaking experience from Caucasus – a joint project, which had been rendered after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and on a Macedonian (Balkan) experience of team reporting techniques produced in the multinational journalistic teams.

The journalists from Osh, Jalalabat and Batken oblasts had five days to learn about the tools of working with different information sources in the conflict and post-conflict conditions, constructed a glossary of most common stereotypes and cliché, which is expected to become a useful guidebook in their future professional work. All participants had been selected on a competitive basis.

“I noticed that journalists had a genuine interest during the training – especially when we worked on the glossary”, — says Arif Aliyev, the media trainer from Baku. “An open discussion among Kyrgyz and Uzbek journalists made particular stereotypes disappear immediately! Our training became a good floor for a successful dialogue between reporters, who had not had a chance for similar communication before.”

At the training there were several discussions held on the topics of interethnic conflicts in other parts of the world; the participants watched a documentary on the interethnic problem in the Republic of Cyprus.

The journalists were also introduced to the techniques of team reporting under the supervision of Eran Fraenkel, the media trainer from the USA. Team reporting is a new method in local journalism. The idea is to have a group of Kyrgyz and Uzbek media reporters work on the same topic together analyzing the problem, interviewing all the parties in the conflict, and in the end producing a balanced written work. The team reporting exercise was combined with practical task of collecting information and presenting ready materials.

“Kyrgyz and Uzbek journalists had a chance to dive into the environment, to visit local communities in Bishkek and write a lot of stories”, — says Eran Fraenkel. “It is very inspiring that they managed to find points of contact and to write on the sensitive topics of common concern.”

The core training materials for the media program of the School had been produced based on the surveys with experts and on the results of preliminary monitoring of the Kyrgyz-, Uzbek- and Russian-language press. The print sources had been screened for stereotypes, cliché and the content, which could potentially incite hostility.

A synchronized translation into a state language was provided during the training.

Several new trainings will also be held by the end of this year.

About the project:

The School of Peacemaking and Media Technology aims at creating mechanisms for achieving and sustaining peace via mass media, training and developing activities on containing conflict escalation in southern Kyrgyzstan and Fergana valley.

A multi-level coursework at the School accommodates a series of trainings on the instruments of peacemaking. The project also aims at promoting a dialogue between different ethnic groups, developing minority media, training activists and human rights defenders from various ethnic groups for the techniques of crisis communications. The School is generously sponsored by National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the «Mass Media Support Program» of the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan.


Camilla Asyrankulova

Program Assistant at School of Peacemaking and Media Technology

Manas str. 101/1, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 720010

Tel: +996 312 694015, 694016, моб: +996 700 993786

Email: peacemakingschool@gmail.com, camilla.asyrankulova@safe-mail.net

Website: www.ca-mediators.net