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Kyrgyzstan: Language and Media Still Sensitive Subjects in Southern Regions

After two years of rebuilding, ethnic Uzbeks still have few media outlets catering to their minority group. (Photo: David Trilling)

Osh, Kyrgyzstan’s southern capital, is calmer than it’s been in ages. The hostile vibe that has prevailed since inter-ethnic rioting in 2010 seems to be slowly dissipating -- evidenced by the fact that Kyrgyz and (some) Uzbeks can be seen strolling in the city’s parks together on weekends.

But the new normal is a far cry from the conditions that existed before the 2010 rioting. The local Uzbek population, which bore the brunt of the 2010 violence, may be tolerated, but Uzbeks still must contend with discrimination and limitations on cultural expression. This reality is particularly noticeable in the realm of mass media.

“There is a certain media revival in the southern region, but it is too early yet to say the situation is the way it was before the June 2010 events because there are few Uzbek-language media outlets,” said Marat Tokoev, head of the Association of Journalists, a Bishkek-based watchdog.

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Kyrgyzstan: Language and Media Still Sensitive Subjects in Southern Regions

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