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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 12, 2005

Five Kyrgyz Journalists to Visit Iowa City

Five Kyrgyz journalists will visit Iowa City June 11-14 to learn about the United States' First Amendment press freedoms. The Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) is sponsoring the visit as part of the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program.

In March 2005, nation-wide demonstrations in Kyrgyzstan marked the end of Askar Akayev's reign as president - covering a 15-year time span and including a break from the Soviet Union in 1991. And in the aftermath of the power change, the new Kyrgyz government declared a liberalization of media policy and denationalization of government-owned media outlets. But diverse assessments and understandings of reform and progress abound.

During a three-week stay in the United States, the five guests will observe the U.S. government's democratic nature and characteristics of government-media relations, discuss government and journalism ethics and learn about public and community-based civic-oriented media outlets, in efforts to fulfill the State Department's main objectives.

Participants include: Kyias Moldokasymov, general director for the Kyrgyz TV/Radio Company; Elmira Toktogulova, general director of the Foundation of Media Consulting Development in Central Asia; Maksuda Aitieva, director of Public Union "Osh Resource Media Center," the biggest independent media organization in the south of the Kyrgyz Republic; Azamat Kalman Uulu, chairman of the board for the Kyrgyz Republic Professional Union of Journalists; Dinara Suimalieva, producer for Internews and host of Zloe Pero (Angry Pen), a popular talk show focused on social and political issues; Larisa Galperin, U.S. interpreter; and Ilya Feliciano, U.S. interpreter.

The Kyrgyz journalists will visit a variety of print and broadcast media outlets to observe diverse operations and management; meet with media experts or academics to discuss comparative media practices worldwide; visit journalism schools to speak with faculty and students; and examine professional and international associations and NGO's dealing with media issues to understand journalists' rights and professional standards.

CIVIC is one of two organizations in Iowa that supports the U.S. Information Agency's International Visitor Program and is a community organization of volunteers "serving and hosting international visitors as a means to promote international understanding on a person-to-person basis," said CIVIC Executive Director Tom Baldridge.

CIVIC is part of UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

For a more detailed itinerary of the Kyrgyz journalists' stay or to volunteer, call the CIVIC office at 319-335-0351, located in 1111 University Capitol Centre.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Program: Tom Baldridge or Marianne Weiss, 319-335-0351, thomas-baldridge@uiowa.edu; Writer:  Erika Binegar