UCA implements transparency and budget reporting training for journalists as part of Kyrgyz government "Information Matters" initiative
On 25th April 2011, University of Central Asia in partnership with the Development Policy Institute, the Alliance for Budget Transparency, and the Kyrgyz Stock Exchange Press Club, launched the first round of training in economic journalism and access to information for journalists in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.
Administered by the World Bank, the Budget Reporting for Journalists and Media Training project is a 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.
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 levels.
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.
“This training is critical for journalists. When budgets are not transparent, they can be a source of corruption. As a journalist, I need to acquire reporting skills to decipher budget information, and this course will help me manage better,” said Marina Miroshnik, course participant and reporter with Chuiskie izvestia.
Under the programme, journalists from the local and national levels will receive training in content and analysis, and the presentation and dissemination of such information through their respective media platforms. Engaging over 150 journalists from all regions of the country, the consortium will provide training in budget issues and the analysis and presentation of this public finance information, as well as in the practical applications and implications of the budget process.
Journalists will receive mentoring and training in presenting budget information in order to produce high-quality news stories for print and broadcast media outlets. UCA will then publish these pieces as a collection. UCA will also publish a Glossary of Terms on economic journalism and public finance, with entries in Kyrgyz, Russian, and English.
“Good reporting can only come with excellent understanding and analysis of information, and through this series of trainings, UCA and its partners hope to both emphasize the important role journalism can play in shaping public discourse and the journalists’ role in this process,” said Gulnara Djunushalieva, Director of SPCE.
The project is being implemented by SPCE, 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
UCA consists of the School of Professional and Continuing Education (the first operational division of the University); and the School of Arts and Sciences (undergraduate), and the Graduate School of Development that will be launched when campuses are built in Khorog, Naryn, and Tekeli. The University provides three additional initiatives to build teaching and scholarly capacity in the region through its Central Asian Faculty Development Programme, the Aga Khan Humanities Project, and Research Programme.
SPCE fulfils UCA’s approach to reach the broadest spectrum of learners possible. The School is Central Asia’s first provider of post-secondary, short-cycle education giving young people and adults professional and vocational qualifications in a flexible learning format that improve employment and income generating opportunities.
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.