conflict & communication online, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2006
ISSN 1618-0747




Irina Wolf
Hizb ut-Tahrir in Kyrgyzstan: Quantitative Media Content Analysis

People are more likely to learn about organizations from the mass media than from personal experience, especially in the case of clandestine organizations. This study covers the period 2001–2005 and tries to determine how much and what kind of information Kyrgyz readers received about Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), an allegedly extremist religious organization, from Vechernii Bishkek (VB), a Kyrgyz national newspaper. VB enjoys the highest circulation of any newspaper in the country. The main hypothesis is that Vechernii Bishkek’s coverage of Hizb ut-Tahrir did not provide a complete, balanced picture of the organization during the five years covered by the study. This is tested on the basis of eleven sub-hypotheses. The research method is two-fold – quantitative and qualitative: Semi-structured interviews were held with the four Vechernii Bishkek journalists who wrote the majority of the relevant articles, and qualitative content analyses were made of selected articles. Together, these explain the quantitative findings and help answer questions like “why” and “wherefore.”
During the five years covered by the study, VB journalists wrote more articles about HT than any other journalists working for major Kyrgyz print media. However, VB failed to provide a complete picture of and balanced information about this organization due to political and social constraints upon journalists and the newspaper. Covering any positive aspects of this officially-banned and clandestine organization would conflict with the government’s opposition to HT, which still sets the agenda for this private, but pro-government Kyrgyz newspaper.


  full text in English  
On the author:
Irina Wolf earned an M.A. in political science at the OSCE Academy, Bishkek and a B.A. in International and Comparative Politics at the American University – Central Asia, Bishkek. She currently works for the Bishkek office of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH as an assistant to the Official Representative in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Address: Kyrgyzstan, Karabalta 722000, ulitza Vosmoe Marta, 17