Kubanych Zholdoshev, a journalist with RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, has received the 2014 “Best Journalist” award from the Foundation for Progressive Initiatives (FPI) in Kyrgyzstan.
Zholdoshev is widely known in Kyrgyzstan for his leading role in an influential investigative program called "Choojai" that airs weekly on the 1st radio channel. His reports on corruption and criminal activity are often republished by local newspapers and websites, and generate numerous comments and debate.
He recently reported on a spate of violent incidents in which Kyrgyz nationalists in Russia attacked young Kyrgyz women for dating non-Kyrgyz men, a practice the nationalists branded as "improper behavior."
In previous years, FPI convened a jury of accomplished journalists to select the award. This year, the selection was made on the basis of a public poll conducted on the internet.
“Kubanych was nominated last year [for this award], and won this year due to public support,” said Venera Djumataeva, Kyrgyz Service director. Moreover, as Kubanych's internet audience reaches far beyond Kyrgyzstan, his award "was widely discussed not only locally but regionally, and on social networks, Facebook, and Twitter, in Russian and other local languages,” Djumataeva added.
The Foundation for Progressive Initiatives is a Bishkek-based, non-governmental organization founded in December 2012. Zholdoshev is the third journalist to receive the annual award for outstanding journalism in Kyrgyzstan, which includes a prize equivalent to 500 USD.
- Rachel Mabie