DE-RADICALIZING THE YOUTH IN KYRGYZSTAN VIA SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR CENTRAL ASIA

Abstract

This paper analyzes the role of social media in fighting radical extremism in Kyrgyzstan by looking at the pilot project conducted by Search for Common Ground Organization that was initiated from 2016 to 2017. The pilot project was aimed at the youth population in order to raise the awareness for issues of radical recruitment risks and create a social media platform for public discourses about radicalism problems. Firstly, the paper introduced the sources and reasons for the emergence of radicalism problems in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here, the triangular rise of nationalism, religious ignorance and secularist beliefs were discussed alongside the erosion of education system and the issue of ideological vacuum. All this resulted eventually in the social marginalization of the youth and the society overall. Secondly, we analyzed the reasons of why terrorists and radical movements targeted the youth via the social media platforms and discussed in detail how the social media campaign could help in fighting against it via the distribution of various counter-extremist information sources and tools. Thirdly, the problems and limitations of the project were discussed, where matters such as the difficulty on recognizing the sources of factors enabling the causes of radicalism or criticism towards effectiveness of the use of positive counter-radical messages have been mentioned. Fourthly, the paper draws lessons from this project for the Central Asian region in terms of its importance, relevance and applicability in different contextual environments. In conclusion, this paper showed on the one hand the vulnerability of the social media to the influence of radical ideas and ideologies, but also on the other hand the potential of the social media as a tool to counter the radical movements and protect the youth from social marginalization, risk of radical recruitments and manipulation.
Key words: radicalism; social media, Kyrgyzstan, youth, Central Asia.
How to Cite
KUMAR, Yernazar. DE-RADICALIZING THE YOUTH IN KYRGYZSTAN VIA SOCIAL MEDIA AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR CENTRAL ASIA. Farabi Journal of Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 7, n. 2, p. 21-28, june 2021. ISSN 2522-1051. Available at: <https://jhumansoc-sc.kaznu.kz/index.php/1-eurasian/article/view/484>. Date accessed: 24 may 2022. doi: https://doi.org/10.26577/CAJSH.2021.v8.i2.03.