Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia
The situation of media in the countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia in which IMS works has been in steady decline since 2011.
Media in Belarus, Azerbaijan and Ukraine is dominated by tight state control of both traditional and online media resulting in self-censorship. Laws have been introduced that restrict media freedom and which have failed to limit the increase in the persecution and harassment of independent journalists.
While media in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan continue to struggle to find their feet in a volatile political transition period following ethnic conflict in 2010, authorities in Tajikistan run an iron control of the country’s media, leaving little space for independent media to maneuver. A common factor for both countries is the “self-censorship for self-preservation” situation that prevails amongst media and a severe financial crisis facing all non-state media outlets.
In countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia where the political context severely narrows the scope for supporting media IMS works in close partnership with likeminded local and international organisations on issues such as media law reform to help strengthen legislation that is meant to protect the freedom and safety of journalists. We also work closely with local media organisations, unions and associations to build their capacity to advocate for media rights and build a climate of solidarity and cooperation within the media community as a means of strengthening the media sector infrastructure.
At the core of IMS’ mandate also lies our support for independent media, civil society and youth initiatives and using new ICT and digital media options to enhance freedom of speech and access to information. IMS also strengthens the capacity of journalists to carry out investigative journalism to promote media’s role as a watchdog as part of the investigative journalism network SCOOP, a programme run by IMS in cooperation with the Danish Association for Investigative Journalism.
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