Community media embodies a grassroots approach to local development. Giving citizens a voice and the opportunity to seek solutions to their problems is a core component of social justice.
The power of community media was clearly evident in Bishkek on 20 February, as 100 participants from throughout the country gathered to mark the International Day of Social Justice in Kyrgyzstan. The conference was organized within the EU-UN joint programme “Operationalizing Good Governance for Social Justice in Kyrgyzstan.“
The three-year, USD five million project, brings together the work of UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and UNESCO in this EU-backed project to improve seven basic services in 30 villages, ayl okmotu in Kyrgyz. UNESCO leads the community media component of the project, building dialogue between national media and local communities on the one hand, and between communities and local administration on the other. UNESCO will launch six community radio stations in six regions of the country; in addition, two mini community multimedia centres (CMCs) are already operational in the Chui region, not far from the country’s capital. The CMCs have received training and technical support from UNESCO’s partner in the project, Kloop Media Foundation, Bishkek.
In their remarks at the 20 February conference, Deputy Prime Minister Kamila Talieva and UN Resident Coordinator Alexander Avanessov both noted specifically UNESCO’s contribution to the improvement of village life through community media. “We note that the important work of UNESCO in bringing community radio to the ayl okmotu. The government needs to learn more about what is happening at the local level and we look forward to participating in the dialogue with citizens about their problems,” noted the Deputy Prime Minister.
One highlight of the conference was the vivid presentation on the CMC project from Kloop Media Foundation, showing the local reporting already underway in the villages by young correspondents. Topics include school under population, lack of preschool facilities and sports facilities for youth, hazardous waste removal.
Rinat Tykhvanshin, New Technologies Manager for Kloop Media Foundation emphasized that the young correspondents see these problems at home every day. Through community reporting and posting of their stories Kloop’s website and through Kloop’s network of affiliated media, the whole country becomes aware of their plight and a national dialogue can begin.
Sergey Karpov, UNESCO Almaty Communication and Information Officer, gave a mini-master class to conference participants on aspects of communication for development, showing them the importance for of reporting on social issues at the individual level, giving a voice to vulnerable groups, and the value of community dialogue in achieving social justice.
Source: Communication and Information
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