Kyrgyz journalists learn how to cover religious extremism

By Asker Sultanov


Twenty-three Kyrgyz journalists take part in a three-day training session on covering extremism and intolerance in Bishkek on February 27, 2018. [Asker Sultanov]

BISHKEK -- Twenty-three journalists from all provinces of Kyrgyzstan came to Bishkek Monday-Wednesday (February 26-28) to advance their skills in "Countering Extremist Propaganda and Hate in Media".

The School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in Central Asia, with the support of the Democracy Commission of the US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, organised the training session.

"The training programme is based on modern challenges and current needs of journalists," according to the call for applications posted on the school's website January 24.

The programme was designed to teach journalists tools and techniques for covering "extremism, terrorism and related issues", said the statement, adding that experienced local and international specialists would conduct the training.

Topics covered included how hate speech influences the spread of radical content in the media and online, which mistakes by journalists and internet users can promote extremism, how harmful content and illegal content differ in transmitting extremism, and how to practise journalistic ethics and comply with laws on libel and on other matters, according to the statement.

During the seminar, the participants demonstrated great desire to learn about the professional skills needed to cover extremism, Sergey Naumov, regional co-ordinator for the School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in Central Asia, told Caravanserai.

"I liked the way the information was provided," Ksenia Kochetkova, a Bishkek resident and employee of the Civic Platform NGO, told Caravanserai.

"Our trainers were professionals; they taught us things we can use in our work. They gave us specific cases of how to cover the subject of religious extremism. The practical exercise in groups was useful," she said.

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These are false "virtues" - under the pretext [of fighting extremism, they] teach our journalists to cover information that is 100 percent contrary to what they said, meaning they force our journalists to disseminate information harmful to society.