Cross-border programme highlights under-reported stories to global audience


Hulkar Isamova, Perspektivy participant from Kyrgyztan, author of "Cross-Border bride" film, BBC, London, December 2016.


‘Cross-border brides’ was a film developed by participants from the Spring 2016 cohort of journalists, Hulkar Isamova from Kyrgystan and Umida Maniyazova from Uzbekistan.  Working in tandem they investigated an under-reported story concerning the plight of 17,000 Uzbek women living in South Kyrgyzstan who are in fear of being deported from their homes since losing citizenship following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lack of citizenship means they have no access to social benefits such as health care for themselves or their children, and no access to the local job market.  On top of this, they can't return to Uzbekistan.

The film was shown on three TV channels and posted on the web-site of the most widely visited information agency in Central Asia.

This story attracted the attention of global news services including Reuters and the BBC. Umida, from Uzbekistan, was interviewed by the BBC World News service and part of the film was shown by them. Hulkar,from Kyrgyztan, was invited to the BBC studio in London where she was interviewed about her experiences and the wider cross-border brides problem, helping to raise awareness of the issue.

The journalists developed the film as part of, and with support from the Perspektivy programme, which also helped to distribute it more widely. Since the video was broadcast, the President of Kyrgystan gave his permission to grant citizenship to Rokhatoy Jabbarova, the protagonist of the film. She had been waiting for 30 years!  


Story ideas for every cross-border journalism programme cycle prioritise under-reported stories where journalism could make difference and change peoples' lives for the better. Those stories should be cross-border in nature and include examples from Eastern Europe, Russia or Central Asia.