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Accepted Paper:

"Breaking Barriers: The Struggles of Women Journalists in Kyrgyzstan"  
Elira Turdubaeva (International Ala-Too University) Gulmira Sharabidinova (Alatoo univercity)

Abstract:

Women journalists in Kyrgyzstan play a pivotal role in shaping public discourse, advocating for gender equality, and challenging societal norms through their reporting and storytelling. This study analyzes the experiences, challenges, and contributions of women journalists in Kyrgyzstan, highlighting their resilience, innovation, and impact on media narratives.

Research indicates that women journalists in Kyrgyzstan face unique challenges in the male-dominated media landscape, including gender-based discrimination, limited access to leadership positions, and safety concerns while reporting on sensitive issues (Spotlight Initiative, 2024).

Despite these obstacles, women journalists have emerged as trailblazers, using their platforms to amplify marginalized voices, shed light on gender inequalities, and advocate for social change. The intersection of gender and journalism in Kyrgyzstan is a dynamic space where women journalists navigate cultural expectations, professional barriers, and personal safety concerns to report on diverse issues affecting women and society at large. Through their investigative reporting, feature stories, and opinion pieces, women journalists bring attention to critical topics such as women's rights, gender-based violence, political participation, and economic empowerment. These efforts have empowered women journalists to challenge stereotypes, advocate for gender justice, and contribute to a more equitable and diverse media landscape. The study also explores the innovative approaches adopted by women journalists in Kyrgyzstan, such as data journalism, multimedia storytelling, to engage audiences and raise awareness about gender issues (UN Women, 2023).

By harnessing the power of digital media and storytelling, women journalists are reshaping narratives, challenging traditional norms, and amplifying voices that are often marginalized in mainstream media. This study analyzes the resilience, creativity, and impact of women journalists in the country by highlighting their contributions to media diversity, gender equality advocacy, and social change, this study underscores the vital role that women journalists play in shaping narratives, challenging stereotypes, and promoting inclusive and equitable media representation in Kyrgyzstan.

Some of the challenges faced by women journalists in Kyrgyzstan include gender-based discrimination, limited access to leadership positions, safety concerns while reporting on sensitive issues, and societal expectations that restrict their roles to traditional domestic roles like obedient wife, homemaker, daughter-in-law, or caring mother (Women Press Freedom, 2024).

Additionally, women journalists in Kyrgyzstan have been subjected to mass raids, interrogations, and detentions by the government in a crackdown on independent media outlets, with allegations of "war propaganda" and inciting "mass unrests" related to their coverage of events such as Russia's war in Ukraine (Women Press Freedom, 2024).

Panel MED1
Shaping Narratives in Central Asian Media: Strategies and Manipulation
  Session 1 Friday 7 June, 2024, -