International Conference Launches “Mobilizing the Media in Support of Women’s and Children’s Rights in Central Asia” Project

Joint efforts by Central Asian and international organizations to galvanize the media’s capacity to safeguard the rights of women and children will be the focus of a new project launched with a goal-setting conference in Kyrgyzstan in February.

The project, Mobilizing the Media in Support of Women’s and Children’s Rights in Central Asia, is supported by the European Union and will train journalists, editors, media managers and NGO workers in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to produce publications and broadcast programs, including television documentaries, on issues related to women and children. In addition to harnessing the media’s ability to raise awareness of the situation of women and children in the region and hold policymakers to account, the project will build the abilities of civil society organizations to develop and disseminate key messages about vulnerable groups.

IREX Europe will implement the project as part of a consortium led by the BBC World Service Trust and including the Eurasia Media Centre from Yekaterinburg, Russia, and three Central Asian organizations, the Osh Media Resource Centre in Kyrgyzstan, Bereke from Kazakhstan and NANSMIT in Tajikistan. The funding for the two-year project is through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.

The two-day kickoff conference on “The Role of the Media in Safeguarding the Rights of Women and Children” brought together government representatives from the three countries as well as media professionals, editors, and heads and members of NGOs. It also was attended by delegates from international organizations and agencies including UNICEF, UNDP and the European Union, and delegates from the United Kingdom, France, and Georgia

The event presented the project and established, through a participatory approach, the project’s regional profile and relevance. Project Manager Marek Bekerman presented the objectives and organized workshops with contributions from experts in the field and specialist moderators. Participants discussed how the media can improve its contribution to protecting the rights of women and children, including by reducing stereotyping, for example, and how to build more cooperative relationships between NGOs and the media. The discussion led to definition of the final project plan and start of activities.

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