New Printing Press Opening In Kyrgyzstan
The first ever, independent printing press is set to open in Kyrgyzstan, representing potential improvement in freedom of expression in Central Asia, Freedom House said today.
The press will provide unfettered access to state-of-the-art printing services at competitive prices.
"We hope that the new press will contribute to freedom of expression and the sustainability of the print media in Kyrgyzstan and throughout Central Asia," said Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House, who traveled to Bishkek for the opening ceremony.
The opening of the press on November 14 marks the culmination of almost two years of work by Freedom House. Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones and Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner will be in Bishkek for the inauguration of the press, which was funded by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor. The Open Society Institute and the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway provided additional support.
The Media Support Center Foundation, a Kyrgyz non-profit organization, will operate the printing house. A broad-based Board of Directors, chaired by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), directs the foundation. The board also includes former U.S. National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Askar Aitmatov, and other distinguished individuals from the U.S., Central Asia and Europe.
"The combination of modern prepress technology and full-color printing will enhance all publications' ability to compete in the marketplace and increase their circulations," said Mike Stone, Project Director for the Freedom House printing press project.
Ms. Windsor also noted the positive support given to the new press by the Kyrgyz government, which also participates on the Foundation's board. "We believe the press is an encouraging symbol of the partnership between the people of Kyrgyzstan and the international community to promote the free flow of information within the region," she said.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.