Kyrgyzstani Multilingual Broadcaster Celebrates One Year of Promoting Harmony

Yntymak, a multilingual TV and radio station in southern Kyrgyzstan, celebrated its one-year anniversary with a public ceremony and concert on September 5. Yntymak (which means “harmony” or “accord” in both Kyrgyz and Uzbek) was cofounded by Internews and the government of Kyrgyzstan to promote inter-ethnic reconciliation between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks following a spate of ethnic violence in the South in 2010.

The station broadcasts TV and radio content in Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Russian in Kyrgyzstan’s southern Osh and Jalalabad provinces.

“I don’t listen to the radio very often but I know Yntymak,” said Shersultan, a resident of Osh. “I’m glad that we have a radio station that works hard to reunite and rebuild friendship between the two ethnic groups.”

Yntymak is the only multilingual broadcaster in southern Kyrgyzstan and one of the few sources for Uzbek-language news and entertainment programming in the country. Uzbek is the native language of a sizeable minority of the population of southern Kyrgyzstan, but it disappeared from the airwaves after the violence, when many local Uzbek media outlets were forced to close.

Audience research conducted earlier this summer showed that in just one year, Yntymak has already become the third most popular of 20 radio stations broadcasting in Osh.

See photos from the one-year anniversary celebration:

In this video, Yntymak staff members reflect on how far the station has come over the past year and what they see as its most important successes:

Over the past year, the station has hosted several concerts and other cultural events that have helped reintegrate Uzbeks back into the public life of the region. Many had hardly left the confines of their ethnically segregated neighborhoods in recent years due to the climate of fear and suspicion that has pervaded the area since the 2010 violence. 

Public figures including Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiev and former president of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva congratulated the station and its staff on their accomplishments over the past year in video messages.

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