December 8, 2023 – The U.S. State Department announced Ali (Mukhammedali) Toktakunov, journalist and co-founder of MediaHub, as a recipient of the Anti-Corruption Champion award, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated leadership, courage, and impact in preventing, exposing, and combating corruption. On December 7 in Washington, D.C., Secretary of State Antony Blinken presented the award to Mr. Toktakunov and 10 other individuals.
In competition with many other compelling candidates, Mr. Toktakunov won the award for his prominent anti-corruption reporting and free speech advocacy in the Kyrgyz Republic. A former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reporter, Mr. Toktakunov is a co-author of a series of high-profile investigative reports on corrupt former deputy chairman of the State Customs Service, Raimbek Matraimov, who is subject to U.S. Global Magnitsky sanctions. In 2021, Mr. Toktakunov co-founded the MediaHub Foundation, which promotes independent journalism through its investigations and reporting.
During the award ceremony, Secretary of State Blinken said: “To all of today’s awardees: your bravery, your commitment to truth, to justice – it humbles us, it inspires us to do more, and it adds even greater urgency to the enduring effort to strengthen protections for advocates, for human rights defenders, for journalists, for educators around the world who are threatened and attacked for the work they’re doing to fight corruption and to better their societies.”
“Our people have a wonderful saying and belief that ‘the truth will win’. Fighting corruption is fighting for truth and justice. This award is a victory for those who supports me on that difficult path of fighting mafia. This year, the ‘Anti-Corruption Champion’ award was awarded to journalists, activists, and government officials from 11 countries. To be among them is to show the world that the Kyrgyz people are united against theft and strive for purity and freedom,” said Mr. Toktakunov in accepting the award.