This white paper draws on survey research on self-censorship practices of Kyrgyz citizens conducted between October and November, 2017. The report provides a historical account of Kyrgyzstan’s political and media systems and an overview of the findings as they relate to contemporary practices of silence and expression online and offline in the country. It then offers analysis of these findings and recommendations to the policy and advocacy communities working on issues related to democratization and freedom of expression in the Central Asian region.
Using Research in Digital Rights Advocacy: Understanding the Research Needs of the Internet Freedom Community
The importance of research within digital rights advocacy cannot be understated. Whether your objective is to persuade policymakers, communicate with companies, educate journalists, convince funders, or influence public opinion, you need accurate and systematically collected information. All advocacy organizations engage in research even if they don’t realize it—advocates are identifying a problem, strategically analyzing causes and effects, seeking potential solutions through information gathering, and communicating this information in a compelling way with core stakeholders. While most organizations have some capacity for research, many organizations do not have the time, funding, or expertise to understand how to deploy the best, most robust, and most convincing research methods to fuel data-driven advocacy. This is especially true for digital rights-related activism, where methods for studying the effects of internet policies, internet user behavior, and corporate decision-making online are often highly technical.
This report is the third in a series that examines public attitudes and preferences about Internet censorship and regulation in states in which media and Internet use are subject to increasing restrictions.
The role of the Internet as a fundamental tool for communication and empowerment is one that should not be inhibited as the limitless nature of the medium allows for a broader, unfiltered, and more democratic exchange of information. These features become increasingly important in conditions where the mainstream media are unwilling or unable to provide the public with the information necessary to function as democratic citizens and maintain political accountability. Though an open Internet tends to be valued by more democratic governments, the percentage of countries adhering to the standards of open and free media is dismally low. In a majority of countries, governments maintain a stringent level of control over many of the mainstream information outlets, making the Internet a vital source of alternative information for the people living within these environments.