Contr. to UNESCO media project

The project will strengthen citizen’s access to information, accountability and transparency of governmental institutions and enhance the quality of the media and information landscape in Uzbekistan. UNESCO as implementing partner has a solid partnership with the government and supports ongoing legislative reforms with expertise, ensuring alignment with international standards, capacity building for key government stakeholders (incl. judiciary, law enforcement bodies) and media competence of professionals.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Media & freedom of information
Legal and judicial development
01.10.2023 - 30.09.2026
CHF  1’300’000
Background Uzbekistan has a long history of controlling the media. With the election of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in 2016, the government made efforts to address fundamental freedoms and initiated a series of reforms in public administration, to strengthen rule of law, human rights, and the media sector and thereby creating more openness in the media environment in Uzbekistan. Yet, access to official information continues to be a barrier for citizens and the media, impeding transparency, public accountability and access to services. Media and information literacy among journalists and the general public is low, and internet penetration stands only at 50%, being particularly low in rural regions. According to the World Press Freedom Index Uzbekistan has fallen from 133 in 2022 to 137 in 2023, indicating growing restrictions on media, bloggers and freedom of speech, with journalistic censorship, biased reporting, and arbitrary arrest of media workers. There is a growing gap between publicly announced reform commitments and the reality with persistent obstacles regarding to access to information and media freedom. Uzbekistan is currently drafting a new Information Code that is critical for access to information, freedom of expression and press freedom. The project’s strategic focus on ongoing legal reform process, enhancing capacities of governmental institutions as duty bearers while empowering media and civil society actors is thus a crucial and timely initiative for Uzbekistan. 
Objectives Uzbekistan’s media landscape is more resilient and inclusive and citizens are well-informed and empowered with better access to information and strengthened accountability, rule of law and media competence. 
Target groups Direct beneficiaries are duty bearers in policy and law-making institutions (media legislation, capacity building); and right holder’s such as in service media professionals (with a strong focus on female journalists), teachers and students of the Journalism University as well as media and civil society organisations. Ultimately, beneficiaries are the citizens of Uzbekistan gaining better access to reliable official information and enjoying a more open and transparent information environment.
Medium-term outcomes
  1. An effective mass media legislation is in place and accountability and transparency of the government are strengthened by improved access to information for the citizens of Uzbekistan. 
  2. Judicial actors, law enforcement and journalism education in Uzbekistan have improved their professional capacities and use international standards and educational instruments related to Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and Safety of Journalists. 
  3. The relevant stakeholders in Uzbekistan take necessary measures to develop a National Media and Information Literacy Competency Strategy. 

Expected results:  

  • Enhanced capacities of stakeholders and raised awareness of the population about the right to access information. 
  • Media legislation improved and sustained the principles of access to information, transparency, freedom of expression and safety of journalists. 
  • Enhanced capacities of judiciary actors on freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists, according to international standards. 
  • Improved journalism teaching curricula and enhanced capacities of journalism educators, preservice media workers and young journalists/bloggers

Results from previous phases:   This is a new projct. However, SDC has been engaged in access to information and media development supporing initaitives, such as the assessment of media in Uzbekistan (UNDP, 2021) or the publication of a guide to improve the legal literacy of journalists and bloggers (“100 questions in the field of mass media”, small action in 2022). 

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • SDC Field Office
  • Schweizerische UNESCO-Kommiss
  • UNESCO, Uzbekistan Country Office (contribution)

Coordination with other projects and actors USAID, EU among others have media focused projects focusing on support to media and anti-corruption. The SDC supported UNESCO project is complementary to these and UNESCO is closely coordinating with all actors to ensure synergies where possible. The project will ensure synergies with SDC’s new contribution to OHCHR.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’300’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    347’462 Budget inclusive project partner CHF    1’572’000 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   1’300’000
Project phases Phase 1 01.10.2023 - 30.09.2026   (Current phase)