A program to improve the quality and scope of economic journalism and access to information was launched in the Kyrgyz Republic this month. The Budget Reporting for Journalists and Media Training Project is one component of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic’s Information Matters–Transparency and Accountability in the Kyrgyz Republic (IMTAK) initiative, which builds on its commitment to enhance information transparency by focusing on budget processes at the local government level. The mass media are critical agents in focusing public attention on government spending and accountability, and the project aims to raise civic awareness, interest and participation in the budget process at all levels of media.
Funded by the Governance Partnership Facility, the 18-month project is designed to improve the understanding and awareness of journalists and media representatives on public finance issues. The project is also designed to promote demand for additional transparency by raising awareness and strengthening journalists’ ability to analyze, present, and disseminate, accurate information about fiscal and budgetary issues at the local and national level.
Under the program, journalists from the local and national levels will receive training in content and analysis, and the presentation and dissemination of such content through their respective media forum. Engaging over 150 journalists from all regions of the country, the project will provide training in budget issues and the analysis and presentation of this information, as well as in the practical applications and implications of the budget process.
Journalists will receive mentoring and training in innovative methods of presenting budget information in order to produce high-quality stories for submission to print and broadcast media outlets. These pieces will then be published in a collection by the University Of Central Asia. The project will also publish a Glossary of Terms on economic journalism and public finance, with entries in Kyrgyz, Russian, and English.
The project is being implemented by the University of Central Asia, in partnership with the Development Policy Institute, the Alliance for Budget Transparency and the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange Press Club, and administered by the World Bank.
The University of Central Asia
The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000 by the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan and His Highness the Aga Khan. The International Treaty and Charter establishing this secular and private university was signed by His Highness the Aga Khan and the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, ratified by the respective parliaments and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the patrons of UCA and His Highness is the Founding Patron and Chancellor. UCA is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).
UCA is guided by a core mission of promoting the socioeconomic development of Central Asia and its mountain communities, while enabling the region’s diverse peoples to preserve and draw upon their rich cultural heritage as an asset for the future. To this end, UCA offers an integrated approach to addressing the educational and economic needs of the region by engaging learners at various levels through secondary, professional and vocational, and university programs.
Development Policy Institute
Development Policy Institute (DPI) is a nongovernmental organization uniting experts with years of experience in developing legislation, strengthening state and municipal management, strategic development and information exchange. DPI’s mission is to further achievements of the Kyrgyz Republic and international donor organization projects in decentralization and local government reforms; local economic development; improvement of municipal services; strengthening of information exchange between local governments, service providers and citizens to ensure transparency and accountability of governments and the development of sound economic journalism.
The Alliance for Budget Transparency
The Alliance for Budget Transparency is a Kyrgyz non-profit organization formed in mid-2007 by 16 different NGOs working on various aspects of budget transparency and social accountability. The Alliance was formed as a network, unified around a common interest to improve the transparency and effectiveness of state and local budgets in Kyrgyzstan by involving citizens in the budget process.
The Kyrgyz Stock Exchange Press Club
The Kyrgyz Stock Exchange Press Club (KSEPC) Public Foundation is the first professional platform for the development of economics journalism in Kyrgyzstan. KSEPC was founded with the mission of increasing access to information on finance and economics and increasing journalists’ competency in financial market issues.