The initiative by GIF’s Local Partners (LPs) to conduct digital rights research in Central Asia marked a pioneering approach to engaging local tech companies in discussions about human rights compliance. Initial apprehensions about the receptiveness of these companies were quickly dispelled as the research and subsequent company engagement meetings yielded overwhelmingly positive feedback. This engagement represented a novel endeavor in a region where outreach from civil society to the tech sector had been minimal.

The dialogues facilitated during and after these meetings revealed a keen interest from company representatives in continuing practical cooperation. This included proposals for regular meetings to discuss new trends and human rights compliance in the private sector. The positive reception underscores a growing recognition among local tech companies of the mutual benefits of such cooperation, enhancing their public image, improving ratings, and potentially opening doors to international markets and foreign investment.

Key feedback from the meetings highlighted a newfound appreciation for the importance of human rights considerations in business operations. Representatives from notable financial and telecommunications companies across the region expressed commitments to review policies, engage in self-regulation, and participate in ratings like those offered by Ranking Digital Rights (RDR), recognizing the value of these efforts in navigating regulatory challenges and fostering a more responsible business environment.