Monday, August 14, 2006

Digital Broadcasters|Tajikistan Turns Down BBC

The BBC has had its application turned down to re-establish FM Radio relay stations in the Tajikistan capital, Dushanbe and the northern town of Khujand.

The Tajik state broadcasting authority took the decision against the BBC on August 2.

The Tajik authorities stopped the BBC from broadcasting on FM in January for supposedly “administrative” reasons, saying it had not provided in good time the documents needed for a new licence under new rules made in September 2005, which also required an agreement between Tajikistan and the applicant’s government.

Reporters Without Borders has condemned Tajikistan’s refusal to renew a licence to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) saying: “another alarming attempt by the regime to prevent people hearing news from foreign media and independent sources” and part of a general attempt to obstruct the work of foreign radio stations in Central Asian countries.

In June, the BBC was however given permission by the Tajik Justice Ministry to open a BBC News Bureau in Dushanbe.

The Tajik government said also the reason the BBC did not receive a license for the BBC radio stations was the absence of a special agreement between the United Kingdom and Tajikistan.

BBC programs reach Tajik territory through AM medium wave frequencies.

It does have BBC FM radio stations in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

Another Central Asian Republic, Turkmenistan is reached by short wave radio broadcasts.

President Emomali Rakhmonov shut down many privately-owned newspapers and radio and TV stations in the country after rioting in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan in March 2005 and the uprising in Andijan, in Uzbekistan, in May that year.

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