Oltin Kalam Celebration, May 1st, 2015

Uzbekistan celebrated the International Press Freedom day (May 3rd) at the Oltin Kalam celebration on May 1st at the Turkistan Theatre in Tashkent. The ceremony, the 10th traditional in a row, awarded Uzbek journalists for their accomplishments. Regional Dialogue presented an award for the coverage on corruption to Anhor.uz editor in chief, Lola Islamova for publishing three articles covering corruption. Mjusa Sever, the Director of Regional Dialogue, delivered a speech on the occasion: “Corruption is a plague that affects a lot of countries around the world. It cannot be eradicated forever, but it can be limited and prevented with raised awareness among officials, businesses and among population.

Media plays a very important role in these efforts. Out of all the reports received on this topic, there were only three articles precisely reporting on corruption - in education, in medical services aligned with pharmaceutical corporations, and in labour market. Yet these articles were not written by a journalist, but by a medical doctor who did not want to have his full name printed, out of fear from any repercussions. These articles do represent the kind of reporting that is supposed to help the government and society to focus on prosecution and prevention of corruption, this cancer of society. So we decided to award the editor in chief for her courage and good journalistic judgment that is needed for these types of stories to appear in the news – and it is mainly the responsibility of editors to assure media reporting that exposes facts that are well known to all of us. While most of the media due to self-censorship does not report on, regional dialogue feels honoured to award Ms. Lola Islamova, the courageous editor in chief of the digital media Anhor.uz.”

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