Colleagues, teachers, fans, and even the subjects of late Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) colleague Ulanbek Egizbaev’s reports attended the launch of a book honoring the award-winning investigative journalist’s work at RFE/RL’s Bishkek bureau on November 13.
Ulanbek Egizbaev: In Search Of Truth is a collection of Egizbaev’s articles, TV program transcriptions, feature stories, documentaries and photo galleries. The Soros-Kyrgyzstan Foundation funded its publication in an initial print-run of 500 copies in the Kyrgyz language, with 500 copies in Russian to be issued by the end of the year.
Egizbaev, 28, died from drowning on July 22 while on holiday at Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk-Kul.
“He had become a symbol of the best journalistic work in Kyrgyzstan,” said RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service Director Venera Djumataeva. “He was the biggest threat to corrupt politicians.”
Egizbaev joined the Bishkek bureau of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Radio Azattyk, in 2012 after winning a contest organized by the service to mark the 20th anniversary of Kyrgyzstan’s independence. He reported regularly and passionately about the country’s unsung heroes and high-level corruption.
The news of his death has prompted an outpouring of grief among public figures, the journalistic community, and ordinary citizens in Kyrgyzstan and beyond. Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov posthumously awarded Egizbaev the national Medal of Courage in August.
The compilers of the book hope that it will be a beacon for young people who want to pursue the noble causes that Egizbaev championed in his career.