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Kyrgyz Reporter Wins Prize for Border Coverage

Kyrgyz Service correspondent Jengish Aidarov (August 1, 2013)

Kyrgyz Service correspondent Jengish Aidarov (August 1, 2013)

A freelance journalist with RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service was recognized by the Public Association of Journalists (PAJ), a Bishkek-based media advocacy group, for his coverage of border-related issues in a tense and complex region.

On November 7, Jenish Aidarov received PAJ’s prize for “Best Radio Correspondent” for his reporting on the Kyrgyz -Tajik and Kyrgyz - Uzbek borders, areas that are prone to conflict. Covering the border zones can be a risky enterprise, and he has won a following among local audiences for his reporting.

"Jenish is dynamic and mobile, reaching geographically distant and dangerous regions in Kyrgyzstan. He is willing to get in a car, and drive for up to six or seven hours in order to get the best coverage. He just jumps in and goes," said Venera Djumataeva, director of the Kyrgyz Service, or Radio Azattyk, as it is known locally.

The PAJ prize is a juried award given annually to a distinguished journalist in Kyrgyzstan. The date for the ceremony was symbolic, as November 7, a national holiday marking the 1917 October Revolution, is increasingly associated with the country's independence and newly found freedoms.

PAJ advocates on behalf of journalists in Kyrgyzstan, lobbies for legal reform in support of independent media, and upholds the principles of a free press and free speech.

--Rachel Mabie