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IWPR Announces Winners of Investigative Journalism Competition and Best Materials on Legal Culture Improvement

December 12, the representative office of IWPR in Kyrgyzstan announced winners of two competitions – the National Competition for the best investigative reporting on human rights and the annual competition for reporters for the best coverage of approaches to the improvement of legal culture in Kyrgyzstan – and held the award ceremony.

The ceremony was dedicated to the Human Rights Day celebrated across the world on 10 December.

Media workers, IWPR partners, representatives of the European Union, GIZ, ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic Kubat Otorbaev and leaders of civic society took part in the ceremony.

The competitions were held under the IWPR “Creating the Culture of Investigative Journalism for Further Democratic Reform-Linking Human Rights Organizations, Government Officials and the Media to Promote Change” Project funded by the European Union.

This year IWPR has also announced the results of its three-year activities under the project.

Delivering his welcoming speech, the IWPR’s Regional Director for Central Asia Abakhon Sultonnazarov has noted that due to this project we can say for certain that the investigative journalism as a genre has become actual in Kyrgyzstan and it obviously delivers positive results for the community development in our country.

During the project, over 120 reporters, human rights defenders and civic society activists from all regions of the country have been trained. 39 investigative reports made jointly by a reporter and a human rights defender or by two reporters have been prepared and published.

“Despite the difficulties, that’s worth the efforts,” Abakhon Sultonnazarov said. “The investigative reports have revealed multiple violations of laws and facts of corruption in different spheres. By results of investigations, some negligent officials have been removed from office, criminal cases have been initiated against offenders. Thus, the justice has been re-established. It means that this work has not been in vain, and reporters do their job.”

Sultonnazarov added that we are glad that despite few investigative reporters in our country, this genre or this type of investigative journalism has gained momentum in Kyrgyzstan.

Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic Kubat Otorbaev has noted the useful activities carried out by IWPR jointly with its partners in order to improve the legal culture of people, and emphasized the need to keep working in this direction.

“IWPR in Kyrgyzstan published first investigative reports back in early 2000s, when I was cooperating with IWPR, these were the first steps in this direction and I am pleased to see the results,” Kubat Otorbaev said. “It’s difficult to promote democratic values here, but when media outlets write about violations of human rights, it gives a kind of impetus to changes and pays off. It’s great that due to IWPR reporters and human rights defenders get together and publish joint investigations.”

A representative of the European Union Delegation to Kyrgyzstan, Nicola Scaramuzzo, has noted the importance of cooperation between reporters and members of the civic society, NGO sector for the preparation of quality and detailed reports on violations of human rights and for he achievement of tangible results, and in this regard IWPR has played its positive role.

“Investigative journalism is a very important and useful genre. We would like to see more reporters in Kyrgyzstan. Because every society needs such reporters who, as the fourth estate, would supervise the government actions,” the representative of the European Union Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic said in his speech.


Some of the main selection criteria were:

  • Elements of investigative journalism,
  • Exclusiveness of revealed offences
  • Definitive body of evidence and factual knowledge
  • And definitely the effectiveness.

Finally, 6 best reports that met the purposes of the competition were selected. Given the fact that this genre of investigative journalism is still developing here, no one was awarded the first prize in the nomination “TV/Radio” by decision of all members of the selection board.

Nomination Print/Online media

1st placeBulat Satarkulov for the report “Investigation: Who Received Lands in the Ataturk Part?” jointly with the team of Nashe Pravo NGO ($500)

IWPR director for Central Asia Abakhon Sultonnazarov (left) handed price to Bulat Satarkulov (center), investigative journalist, and well-known rights defender Kalicha Umuralieva, head of the “Nashe pravo” (Our rights) public union. Photo: IWPR

2nd place Elnura Alkanova for the article “Czech Firm Building HPP in Kyrgyzstan is Defaulting” ($300)

Elnura Alkanova (left) was handed a prize from prominent human rights defender, head of the “Bir duino Kyrgyzstan” human rights movement Tolekan Ismailova. Photo: IWPR

3rd placeAnastasia Bengard for the article “How Unlicensed Medical Center Performs Abortion”, 24.kg news agency ($200)

Zulfia Marat, human rights activist, left, hands prize to Anastasia Benghard, reporter of the 24.kg news agency.

3rd place — Kymbat Turdubekova for the article in Kyrgyz “Bishkekte sook soyu uchun zher kancha som”, Politklinica newspaper ($200)

Abdumomun Mamaraimov, head of the Golos svobody public fund (elft) and Kymbat Turdubekova.

Nomination “TV/RADIO”

1st place — $500 — no winner

2nd place — Gulzhan Altymyshbaeva for a TV report in Kyrgyz “Kempir-Abad suusaktagychy zheegindegi aiyldardy chokturuudo”, TRK NTS ($300)

Askarbek Yerkebaev (left), media officer of the EU Delegation to Kyrgyzstan, and Guljan Altymyshbaeva, journalist of the NTS TV channel in southern Osh oblast.

3rd place — Burulai Shergazieva for a radio report in Kyrgyz “Kurt baskan oorukana, kaidyger zhetekchilik”, TRK Maral ($200).

Also, the members of the selection board in their joint decision decided to award a special prize in the amount of $300 in the nomination “For the contribution to the development of investigative journalism genre in Kyrgyzstan” to the team of investigative reporters of Kloop Media.

Media expert Ainagul Abdrakhmanova (left) handed award to editor-in-chief of Kloop.kg Eldiyar Arykbaev (center) and investigative editor Alexandra Lee. Photo: IWPR


This competition was initiated by the Ministry of Justice of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2017 in the framework of implementation of the Concept of improvement of legal culture of people in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2016-2020.

The participants of the competition were reporters across the country, representatives of various media outlets – TV, radio, online and print media.

The selection board worked carefully, checked all materials for their compliance with the main purposes of the competition:

The first purpose was to draw public attention through media to the urgent issues of improvement of legal culture in the Kyrgyz Republic. Also:

  • Shaping positive public opinion on the issues of development of legal culture among the citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic;
  • Another significant criterion was to determine the extent of contribution of content to the education of law-abiding citizens of the republic and to the elimination of legal ignorance among people.

1st place — Ermek Aktanov, for a series of reports “Human rights on the street and on the roads”, Birinchi Radio ($500), (not posted on the internet);

Ombudsman of the Kyrgyz Republic Kubat Otorbaev (left) and journalist of the state-controlled Birinchi radio Yermek Aktanov.

2nd place — Zhazgul Egemberdieva for the report “Why girls’ rights are violated?”, TVC Asia ($300)

Stefanos Kareklas (left), representative of GIZ office in Kyrgyzstan, and Zhazgul Egemberdieva.

3rd place — Adina Dosumbetova for the story “Inclusion: Dreams and Reality”, OTRK Yntymak ($200)

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