Not In Our Name, a research and documentary project produced by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) to help communities in Central Asia understand and prevent the spread of violence and extremism, has won Best Television Project in the “religion” category of a contest organized by the Prosecutor's Office of Almaty City together with the Investigative Journalism Foundation of Kazakhstan.
Zhuldyz Tuleova, the project’s Kazakhstan producer, accepted the award on behalf of RFE/RL’s international team at a ceremony in Almaty November 27.
Not In Our Name is the first regional counter-extremism project of its kind in Central Asia. The documentary project follows the journey of those who left their homes in Central Asia for the conflict zones of Iraq and Syria. It is estimated that more than 4,200 Central Asians joined the conflict, many with their families.
At the heart of the project are ten “town hall” sessions, or moderated discussion groups, conducted in local languages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. With support from local residents and NGOs, these 30-minute segments that were published online and broadcast on TV have helped local communities confront the taboo topic of extremism.
Documentary Executive Editor Noah Tucker congratulated the entire team and took the opportunity to highlight the tireless production work of Tuleova and discussion moderator for the Kazakh team Serik Beysembeayev, as well as the producer of the whole series Harut Mansuriya.
“The quietly devastating interviews Zhuldyz did with families who had lost members to ISIS in Syria were the backbone of discussion in the talk shows and the key to the entire project,” said Tucker.
Not In Our Name has been screened alongside open discussions with audiences in Washington, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and London.
The foreign affairs journal The Diplomat wrote that the project lays crucial groundwork for progress in recognizing the forces that push people toward violent extremism in Central Asia, the Exeter Central Asian Studies Network said it will be a “tremendous aid to teaching the topic as well as stimulating improved policy in the area of countering violent extremism.”