Uzbekistan: CFI organises its first forum in Central Asia

Uzbekistan: CFI organises its first forum in Central Asia

This was an unprecedented event for the agency: from 6 to 8 May, it organised a forum specifically aimed at journalists from Central Asia, the Tashkent regional forum (Uzbekistan). It constituted a unique opportunity to discuss the growing problems linked to disinformation in the region, but also to bring together a network of committed experts for the very first time.

At 9 am over 150 people were already hurrying through the doors of the Panarams Hotel in Tashkent: journalists, representatives of media, academic and political organisations, media experts, etc., all of whom had travelled from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, France or, of course, Uzbekistan.

Why had they come to Tashkent? To take part in the first regional forum of Central Asian journalists, organised by CFI and aimed at highlighting the crucial challenges of disinformation and of adapting to rapid changes in journalism, as well as journalist and media security.

This event, financed by CFI, under its Médialogue project, and the French Embassy in Uzbekistan, was the product of close collaboration with the French diplomatic representations in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Their objective was clear: faced with the deteriorating media situation in Central Asia, which makes it harder to verify sources, exacerbates confirmation bias and fuels anti-democratic strategies, ethical journalism must make a comeback.
Supported by the Uzbek authorities, the event was attended by Sherzod Asadov, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the spokesman of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the Ambassador of the European delegation, Charlotte Adriaen.

Opening of the forum by Thierry Vallat, 6 May ©Félix Hubert Delattre

On the agenda: combating disinformation and security issues

Each of the three days of the forum was devoted to a major issue: the first day focused on the challenges of combating growing disinformation in Central Asia. The second day focused on modern media challenges and the need to adapt to this frenetic pace of change. Finally, on the third day, the participants had the opportunity to discuss a crucial subject: information and journalist security.

The forum was held in French, Uzbek and Russian, the lingua franca of the Central Asian region, thanks to the professionalism of the team of interpreters, all of whom helped to ensure that the discussions flowed smoothly during both the working sessions and the many informal conversations.

Ethics in Journalism conference, 6 May 2024 ©Félix Hubert Delattre

Reinforcing the creation of a network of Central Asian journalists

Despite the deteriorating situation for journalists and the media throughout the region, CFI and its partners succeeded in making the Tashkent forum a space for open, broad and free discussions. Thus, this event helped to support and strengthen the regional networking of journalists from the Central Asian republics, who, although they face similar problems, do not necessarily have the opportunity to meet in order to share their experiences and forge joint projects.

For the creation of this network, CFI was able to respond to the request for French expertise by calling on its network of partners (the École publique de journalisme de Tours, France Médias Monde, l’Académie, France 24, RFI, Reporters Sans Frontières, Nothing2Hide, the ESJ-Lille and a href="" target="_blank">Philosophie Magazine), and by identifying key Central Asian media players who could share their experience, projects and innovative solutions with all the participants.

The forum provided a rare and powerful opportunity for specialists and journalists from Central Asia and France to share their expertise, backgrounds and experience, opening the doors to a wide range of possible areas of cooperation.
Perhaps it was the start of great things to come.

For more information: the Médialogue project

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