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RFE/RL Review September 15, 2006

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The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
September 1-15, 2006


All RFE/RL language services ran special programming to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. Most of these broadcasts were based on a nine-part series RFE/RL's Central Newsroom began issuing a week in advance, which included an interview with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Colleen Graffy (; RFE/RL Central Newsroom coverage of the War on Terror can be viewed at Individual services aired a chronological count-down to the tragedy and "customized" the programs with in-country interviews about the local impact of 9/11, how it affected the lives of ordinary citizens and their government's policies. Several services broadcast exclusive interviews with U.S. experts to ask similar questions. On September 11, RFE/RL services brought to listeners news of the ceremonies in the United States and rich excerpts of statements by senior officials, including President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami and other dignitaries. Muslim listeners in RFE/RL's broadcast region all heard the same mournful sounds of bagpipes playing, as firefighters marched down to 'Ground Zero' where the World Trade Center once stood and a bell tolling at 8:46 AM local time to mark the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Chechens in Russia, Crimean Tatars in Ukraine, Albanians and Bosnians in the Balkans, and Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians, as well as the peoples of Central Asia heard some of the names being read out of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the bombings and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying: "Five years have come and gone, and we still stand together as one. We come back to this place to remember the heart-breaking anniversary and each person who died here -- those known and unknown to us whose absence is always with us."

* Radio Farda listeners in Iran, in addition to lengthy excerpts of President Bush's 9/11 speeches, heard their former president Mohammad Khatami condemn the terrorist attacks in a speech at Harvard University September 10, saying it was a "barbaric and savage act. As a human, as a Muslim, and as an Iranian, I stand before you to, once again, express my deepest sympathy with the families of the victims and with all the great American people. Let us wish for a world devoid of violence and anger."

* RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan in a special 9/11 broadcast combined and compared the fifth anniversary with the 100th anniversary on the same day of the start of Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent campaign of passive resistance. The program contrasted today's extremist violence with Gandhi's ideology of peace and included an interview with the grandson of the late Pashtun leader Ghafar Khan, who had stood side by side with Gandhi. On September 11, RFA also prepared special morning and evening programs, featuring Afghan government officials, members of Afghan clergy, political experts and U.S. embassy officials discussing the attack on the United States. Radio Free Afghanistan correspondents around the country gave the microphone to local citizens, asking what they remember and what 9/11 means for them. RFA correspondents in Kabul reported live on commemorative ceremonies by the Afghan government and by international forces. On September 7, RFA broadcast a 9/11 call-in show and was swamped with calls from listeners, sharing their experience and recounting how their lives have changed in the past five years.

* RFE/RL's Belarus Service assembled an eight minute "9/11 in Sound" broadcast of the fateful day without commentary, followed by reports on the 2006 ceremonies, President Bush's speech and comments by other world leaders. The service aired a special report on the memorial event at the U.S. Embassy, including an interview with the ambassador who noted the absence of any commemoration of the anniversary by the Belarusian government. RFE/RL also aired an interview with former Belarusian ambassador to the UN, Henadz Buraukin, who recalled his visits to the World Trade Center in the four years he spent in New York in the early 1990s (Buraukin's comments can be read in an article about the 9/11 anniversary on the Belarus Service's webpage, at And in a special program of interviews with Minsk citizens stopped at random near the U.S. embassy and with political and cultural leaders in Belarus, the service looked at perceptions of how the world has changed since 9/11/2001. Visitors to the service's website were also able to experience a photo report of today's Ground Zero, filed by a New York correspondent for the Belarus Service (

* RFE/RL's Russian Service made the 9/11 anniversary its top story of the day, broadcasting live the ceremony in New York in its three-hour "Time of Liberty" program, with three exclusive interviews: with former high-ranking Pentagon official Daniel Goure on the lessons the U.S. has learned from 9/11; with the Editor-in-Chief of "Russia in Global Politics," Fyodor Lukyanov on global changes after 9/11; and with political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky on the changes in U.S.-Russia relations in the past five years. The Russian Service also aired interviews with the mothers of two young Russian men who were killed in the World Trade Center attack. The programs can be accessed in Russian at;;;

* RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service aired an exclusive interview with U.S. Ambassador to Romania Nicholas Taubman who spoke about the impact of 9/11 on Romanian-U.S. relations; the participation of Romanian troops in Afghanistan and Iraq; and Romania's role in the Black Sea region. He said "Romania is shoulder to shoulder with us in Iraq and Afghanistan... the relationship between Romania and the U.S. is stronger today than it has ever been... Romania is the one country that is a strong enough democracy to speak for itself in the (Black Sea) region and to be the engine that hopefully will pull democracy into this area even more strongly than it is there now" (

* RFE/RL's Kazakh Service focused on the story of the only Kazakh citizen to die in the New York 9/11 attack -- Janetta Tsoi, a young Kazakh citizen of Korean origin from Almaty. She arrived in New York on August 23, 2001 as a green card lottery winner together with her husband and teenage daughter. In Almaty, Janetta worked for an American company, which offered her a job in the U.S. after she won the visa lottery. Tsoi was given a choice between living in Los-Angeles, San Francisco or New York. September 11, 2001 was her second day at work in the World Trade Center. RFE/RL's Kazakh Service tracked down Janetta's parents in Almaty and persuaded them to give an interview for the first time. They shared their pain and sorrow in a moving conversation aired on this fifth anniversary. Listeners reacted immediately with more than 50 phone calls to RFE/RL's Almaty Bureau, asking for more information about Janetta and her family. The story is posted on RFE/RL's English language webpage, at and can be accessed in Kazakh on and

* RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service coverage of the 9/11 fifth anniversary included a report on President Kurmanbek Bakiev's visit to the Manas airbase and meeting with American airbase personnel. Bakiev said the base is necessary as long as the situation in Afghanistan remains unstable and that it helps to improve security there. U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Mary Jovanovich said the 9/11 commemorative ceremony at the base pays tribute to those who died on 9/11, as well as all victims of international terrorism, including those who died in terrorist attacks in Kyrgyzstan ( The service also interviewed analysts in Kyrgyzstan and aired a roundtable discussion of their assessment on how 9/11 impacted life in Kyrgyzstan.

* RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service translated and broadcast the Central Newsroom's September 11 program package, starting on September 6. On September 11, the service ran interviews with U.S. and Azerbaijani experts on changes in U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the Caucasus, on the international war against terror and asked people on the streets of Baku and other major cities what they think about 9/11 and its impact on their own lives and the world.

* RFE/RL's Georgian Service sent correspondents to cover a commemoration ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi, attended by U.S. Ambassador John Tefft, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James McDougall, and Georgian Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze. The 9/11 program of the Georgian Service also included a report on the "Peace Tree" ceremony organized by the "Club of U.S. Friends" at a church in Tbilisi. On September 15, the service aired a special program about Hollywood's response to 9/11 and two American films released recently, which document the heroism of the victims and rescue workers.

* RFE/RL's Uzbek Service followed the relatives of a young Uzbek woman who died in the 9/11 attack, recounting how they learned of the attack and that their daughter was one of the victims. In another program aired on the anniversary, the service examined in interviews with western analysts Uzbekistan's missed opportunity: why president Islam Karimov failed to hold on to his chance to be a strategic partner for the U.S. in the region and set his country on the road to democracy and economic prosperity.

* RFE/RL's Tajik Service aired a special report by its New York correspondent describing the Ground Zero site, the ceremony there and others all over the United States. The report noted the huge crowds assembled and the continuing deep grief of Americans for 9/11 victims. In another program, the service interviewed experts in Tajikistan about changes in the world since 9/11. One of them said the war against terror was necessary at first but has now lost its goals. He said Tajiks see the West permitting Central Asian dictators to rule as they want, while their dictatorships create fertile ground for a new wave of terrorism. The service also opened a discussion forum on its website and got a rich response from visitors sharing their views on changes in the world since September 11, 2001.

* * *

RADIO FREE IRAQ COVERS NATIONAL RECONCILIATION CONFERENCE... A Baghdad correspondent for RFI was at a conference of civil society organizations in Baghdad September 16 on promoting national reconciliation. The broadcast included Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki's address, in which he said his government's national reconciliation initiative is the only way to defy terror. Al-Maliki urged Iraqis to "take up the security challenge by denying terrorist havens and not condoning their crimes first, and second by cooperating with the security agencies in effective positive action." He said "reconciliation also means safeguarding national unity and protecting the country as we face these challenges" and that no one separately is infallible or in possession of the whole truth but "we can collectively arrive at the right view, the correct position and take a rational course of action".

...PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT TO IRAN... RFI noted warming ties between Iraq and Iran evident in Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamil al-Maliki's official visit to Iran on September 12. At a joint press conference in Tehran with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the Iraqi Prime Minister said the two leaders had good discussions and that he saw no barrier to cooperation "even on security issues." Al-Maliki added that there is "a great readiness for cooperation in all fields, especially in security, economy and politics." In an exclusive RFE/RL interview, London-based journalist and Middle East expert Dr. Alireza Nourizadeh said al-Maliki's trip to Tehran could have a significant impact on ties between the two countries, among other issues, because of Iran's concern about the U.S. presence in Iraq (

...ATTACK ON U.S. EMBASSY Radio Free Iraq's correspondent in Damascus filed up to date news on the attack on the U.S. embassy there September 12, clarifying the number of suicide car bombers involved and the failure of the assailants' plan. His reports were aired with immediate reaction from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and quotes from White House spokesman Tony Snow saying the Syrians responded professionally but "the next step is for Syria to play a constructive role in the war on terror."

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Iraq's website is at; English-language news about events in Iraq can be found at

RADIO FREE AFGHANISTAN CORRESPONDENT AT SUICIDE BOMBING... A Kabul correspondent for Radio Free Afghanistan was at the site within minutes of a suicide car bomb explosion close to the U.S. Embassy on September 8 and recorded this description by an eyewitness: "I am on the street, and I am looking at the dead bodies. I can see the bodies of at least three foreigners. It was a huge explosion. At least two cars have been badly damaged, and I can see body parts spread out as far as 300 meters from the blast ( The suicide attacker struck a convoy of U.S. military vehicles, killing at least 16 people, including two U.S. soldiers, and wounding 29 others. RFE/RL reported that the bomb dug a 6-foot-wide crater and blew pieces of an American Humvee and U.S. uniforms into trees, which were set ablaze by the explosion. The blast shattered windows throughout downtown Kabul, and a cloud of brown smoke climbed into the sky. The RFA report was quoted widely by media in the region, including The Times of Central Asia.

...DETAINED IN PAKISTAN An RFA Afghan correspondent based in Quetta, in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, has been harassed and threatened because of his work for RFE/RL. The reporter, Ghausodeen Firoten, was detained by Pakistani authorities on the Afghan-Pakistani border and interrogated for three hours on August 31. Pakistani authorities searched his recording equipment, asked about his assignments for Radio Free Afghanistan and accused him of spying for Afghan security. He was eventually released and allowed to go home but Pakistani authorities in early September visited his home and interrogated him there, asking what sources he uses in reporting for RFA. He has received threatening phone calls at night and was told his Pakistani visa may be revoked. The Afghan Councilor in Quetta said other Afghan journalists in Pakistan have experienced similar treatment.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, Akbar Ayazi, may be reached by email at <>. Radio Free Afghanistan's website is located at; English-language news about events in Afghanistan can be found at

BELARUS SERVICE LAUNCHES NEW PROGRAM RFE/RL's Belarus Service launched a new program on September 4 that airs three times a week in three-minute segments. Titled "This I Believe," the series is based on a 1950s U.S. radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow, which is currently being revived on the U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) network as well. RFE/RL gained permission to launch its own version and use some of the essays submitted by NPR listeners. Listeners are invited to write about the core beliefs that guide them in their daily lives; the essays are read on-air by the author or an RFE/RL broadcaster. The RFE/RL premiere program featured an essay on "I Believe in Belief," meaning that believing something can be done is half the battle. The essay was submitted from Ottawa by Belarusian National Republic Council President-in-Exile Ivonka Survilla. Other topics broadcast include "I Believe in the Family," "I Believe in Youth and Belarus," and "I Believe the Role of Women is Undervalued" (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Belarus Service, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached by email at <>. The Belarus Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Belarus can be found at

RUSSIAN SERVICE REMEMBERS BESLAN... RFE/RL's Russian Service had a Moscow-based correspondent at the building of the Russian Federal Security Service on September 3 when human rights activists gathered there, waving posters demanding to know "the whole truth" about the Beslan massacre. The correspondent reported and recorded police and special forces moving in to tear up placards and disperse the crowd, beating and arresting demonstrators. ( RFE/RL correspondents reported that in other parts of Russia, including North Ossetia, commemorations took place without incident. This was the second anniversary of the three-day siege of a primary school in Beslan, North Ossetia, which ended in a chaotic assault by Russian security forces that killed more than 330 of the 1,000 children and adults being held hostage. Militants demanding an end to the war in Chechnya claimed responsibility for the hostage- taking, but not for the loss of life. Many questions about the rescue operation and why it was so bloody remain unanswered.

...COVERS ETHNIC RIOTS... Ethnic clashes in the industrial city of Kondopoga, about 1,000 km north of Moscow in Russia's northwestern Karelia Republic, was a major story on RFE/RL broadcasts during the first week of September. RFE/RL's Russian and other services looked at multiplying incidents of racism in Russia, mostly against non-Russian peoples of the former Soviet Union, and spoke to experts examining the causes. The riots on September 1-4, in which two people were killed and many others wounded, were sparked on August 30 by a drunken brawl between ethnic Russians and Chechens at a Chechen restaurant. Angry mobs of Russian youths then attacked businesses of non-Russians, saying they wanted to clear the town of all but ethnic Slavs. RFE/RL aired an interview with Aleksandr Verkhovsky, head of the Moscow-based Sova human rights group, who said local police initially remained passive and later gained control of the situation largely by complying with the wishes of the mobs. Verkhovsky said local authorities agreed to strip the Chechen restaurant owner of his property and to subject Caucasus residents to document checks and expel them if they are illegal ( In a September 8 broadcast, RFE/RL analyst Viktor Yasmann noted that longstanding corruption contributed to rising local hostility toward Karelia's Caucasus population and that some accused non-Russian business owners of collusion with local authorities.

...DISCUSSES KOMMERSANT NEW OWNER Russia's Kommersant business daily was recently purchased by metals magnate Alisher Usmanov believed to have close ties to the Kremlin. A Prague-based broadcaster for the Russian Service contacted "Kommersant" journalist Azer Mursaliyev to ask him about changes at the newspaper under new management. In the interview aired on September 12, Mursaliyev said Usmanov has given assurances to the staff that although as a citizen he supports Kremlin policies, he will not interfere in editorial matters. Mursaliyev also quoted Usmanov as saying he planned to make further media acquisitions (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>. The Russian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Russia can be found at

NORTH CAUCASUS SERVICE REPORTS ON TORTURE OF PREGNANT CIVILIAN RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service obtained a video showing the torture and humiliation of a young woman by Chechen security forces loyal to pro-Moscow Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov ( The victim was 23-year-old Malika Soltayeva, who with her aunt, Zarema Soltanova, described their ordeal during an exclusive interview to RFE/RL on September 4. Despite being pregnant, Soltayeva was subjected to a two-hour beating and repeated humiliation at the hands of her captors. The men, all local authorities in the Chechen town of Argun, used cell phones to record what was officially termed an investigation into her alleged crimes. "She was beaten," Soltanova said. "They forced her to confess that she ran away with a Russian, that she became pregnant with his child. They used foul language with her and made her undress. They poured tap water over her hair and shaved her head. They shaved all the hair on her entire body. They painted crosses on her body and were kicking her." The video obtained by RFE/RL shows Malika Soltayeva being followed by residents and security forces as she leaves the building where she was tortured. Her head is shaven and painted green, she is forced to dance and is subjected to taunts and physical abuse. As a result of the beating, Soltayeva suffered a miscarriage, Soltayeva told RFE/RL she had been kidnapped and held for a month, but her husband accused her of committing adultery with a Russian serviceman and called in Chechen security officers to conduct the assault, in order to restore the family's pride.

** The Director of RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service, Aslan Doukaev, may be reached by email at <>. English-language news about events in the North Caucasus region can be found at

ARMENIAN SERVICE INTERVIEWS OPTIMISTIC FOREIGN MINISTER RFE/RL's Armenian Service gained an exclusive interview with Armenian foreign minister Vartan Oskanian on September 12 about progress in negotiations on a Nagorno-Karabakh peace settlement. Oskanian spoke with RFE/RL after talks in Paris with the U.S., French and Russian co- chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. He described the talks as "very good and effective," focusing on ways of reviving the peace negotiations, which have been stalled for months. Oskanian said he and the Azerbaijani foreign minister may meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and that international mediators are hopeful agreement on some issues may be reached. In a September 18 report, RFE/RL quoted president Robert Kocharian who told an international gathering of Armenians in diaspora that international recognition of Nagorno- Karabakh as an independent state is a priority for Armenia. He said the conflict remains unresolved although "several times we were close to signing an agreement" (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Hrair Tamrazian, may be reached by email at <>. The Armenian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Armenia can be found at

AZERBAIJANI SERVICE LOOKS AT JUSTICE FOR JOURNALISTS... RFE/RL's Radio Azadliq continues to cover the trial of opposition journalist and poet Mirza Sakit Zahidov, on charges of possessing and trafficking in drugs. Zahidov, writes for the independent daily Azadliq newspaper, and is the brother of its editor-in-chief. He was arrested in June and the state brought charges against him in July, after police claimed to have found 10 grams of heroin in his pocket. Zahidov told the judge that the case is "political" and "pure fabrication," aimed to silence him. He said he was surrounded by several people and forcefully pushed into a car. "I thought I was being kidnapped and was very scared. Then at the police station they told me that they found drugs on me. It is a classic Soviet police trick." Zahidov's lawyer Vugar Hasayev says the penalty could be up to 12 years in prison and that the evidence is contradictory and incomplete. The case is being closely followed by the OSCE, and western diplomatic community in Baku, as well as international human rights groups. On September 4, RFE/RL reported that OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media, Miklos Harazsti, sent a letter to Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, requesting again that he stop the persecution of journalists. Harazsti said "at least five journalists and a number of newspapers are facing criminal and civil defamation cases. Some of them have already received harsh sentences, including imprisonment."

...KILLERS OF JOURNALISTS... A Baku-based correspondent for RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service has filed regular updates on an important trial that started more than two months ago. The defendant, Haci Mammadov, a former high-ranking Azerbaijani Interior Ministry official made headlines when he confessed he had ordered the murder last year of opposition journalist Elmar Huseynov, a prominent and outspoken critic of the government. But questions have been raised about Mammadov's testimony with suspicion that he is covering up involvement of senior government officials. Prosecutors say that Mammadov over a period of 10 years ran a gang of over two dozen people that carried out a series of abductions for ransom and contract killings on orders from on high. RFE/RL has interviewed justice and policy experts who say the trial spotlights how law enforcement agencies in Azerbaijan are infested with corruption and linked with organized crime.

...2006 FREEDOM HOUSE REPORT The Azerbaijani Service programmed on September 7 on the annual Freedom House "Freedom in The World" report for 2006, ranking 192 countries by political and civil freedoms. Azerbaijan remained in the category of "not free countries," largely because of 2005 parliamentary election irregularities. In an exclusive interview with the Azerbaijani Service, OSCE Representative in Baku Maurizio Pavesi said there is no check on government since the ruling New Azerbaijan Party's win in the 2005 election. In his words: "We have a parliament, which is not a parliament. I mean a parliament with a 95 percent majority is more a kind of internal body of the ruling party than a real parliament, as we consider parliaments in our countries, in Western Europe."

** The Director of RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <>. The Azerbaijani Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Azerbaijan can be found at

GEORGIAN SERVICE GIVES VOICE TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARIAN... A delegation from the European Parliament on September 11 traveled to Tskhinvali, capital of separatist South Ossetia and met with its leader, Eduard Kokoity. The leader of the EU group, Marie Anne Isler Beguin, gave an exclusive interview about the trip to Nino Gelashvili, Tbilisi correspondent for the Georgian Service. She said in the interview aired on September 12 that the delegation had a clear message to deliver from the European Parliament: "we don't want any escalation of the violence... the European Parliament and the European Union will never, ever accept a military option to resolve frozen conflicts like the one in South Ossetia." Isler Beguin said she also queried Kokoity's plan to hold an independence referendum on November 12: "I asked what does this mean... in a region where 80 percent of the population holds Russian passports. Is it a South Ossetian population or a Russian population that is demanding to decide its future?" (

...FOLLOWS CONFRONTATION OVER SOUTH OSSETIA RFE/RL's Georgian Service aired a report by Central News correspondent Robert Parsons on September 14 on the rising tensions in Georgia's breakaway republic of South Ossetia, where the latest victims are Georgia's defense minister and four men who died earlier in September when Ossetian units shot down their helicopter. Chairman of the Russian Duma, Boris Gryzlov, welcomed South Ossetia leader Kokoity's plan to hold a referendum and announced Russia would send parliamentarians to observe the November 12 vote. Most Ossetians, the majority of whom hold Russian passports also support the idea. South Ossetian journalist Irina Kelekhsayeva told RFE/RL that few of her contemporaries support the Georgian government's peace proposal that offers South Ossetia considerable autonomy. She said: "the postwar generation doesn't see itself as being part of Georgia. We haven't spoken Georgian now for a long time and we have got used to the idea that we can be an independent state and that, if it comes to it, we can join Russia." Giorgi Khaindrava, until July the Georgian conflict resolution minister and the man responsible for negotiating with the Ossetian leadership said in the RFE/RL report that "it should be clear to everyone that this is about the confrontation between Georgia and Russia. The Tskhinvali regime represents nothing. It is merely the executor of Moscow's orders... and, of course, it is in Moscow's interest to provoke local conflicts" (

** The Director of RFE/RL's Georgian Service, David Kakabadze, may be reached by email at <>. The Georgian Service's website is at; English-language news about events in Georgia can be found at

MACEDONIAN BROADCASTERS CELEBRATE 5TH ANNIVERSARY WITH SPECIAL PROGRAM The Macedonian Subunit of RFE/RL's South Slavic & Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) celebrated its fifth anniversary on September 1, with a special broadcast of the highlights of RFE/RL's Macedonian language programming. September 1, 2001 when the first show aired was a difficult time for ethnically divided Macedonia not yet healed from civil war. The RFE/RL broadcast was one of the first voices of tolerance there and quickly established RFE/RL as the leading foreign broadcaster and journalism standard-setter in the country. RFE/RL news, interviews and features are quoted daily in Macedonian media despite its relative brevity. The Macedonian language broadcast airs daily for 15 minutes. Polls show listeners like its upbeat tempo, liveliness and friendly style and value what they perceive as a commitment to objective, fair and accurate reporting. A year ago, last September, the subunit started its own TV program -- a weekly 10-minute interview aired nationwide on Sunday by the Channel Five TV network and 7 municipal affiliates. In 2002, RFE/RL opened a Macedonian language web page, which now averages more than 50,000 page views monthly.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>. The SSALS website in Macedonian at; English- language news about events in Macedonia at

KYRGYZ SERVICE THROWS LIGHT ON "MATRYOSHKA AFFAIR"... The Kyrgyz Service clarified in extensive reporting the convoluted facts of what has come to be known as "The Matryoshka Affair," several times scooping other media. Opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev, former Kyrgyz parliamentary speaker, was arrested at the Warsaw airport on September 6 after Polish border police found heroin in his suitcase ( A Polish court ordered Tekebayev's release two days later, accepting his assertion that the drugs had been planted in his luggage at the Bishkek airport. The heroin was inside a Russian wooden matryoshka doll, leading commentators to quickly dub the episode "The Matryoshka Affair" in Kyrgyz media. RFE/RL followed in broadcasts the Kyrgyz investigation, airing live interviews with lawmakers, policy experts and human rights representatives and reporting public reaction, including a protest rally in support of Tekebaev in his hometown of Bazarkorgon in southern Kyrgyzstan. On September 13, RFE/RL reported that president Kurmanbek Bakiev had accepted the resignation of several officials of the Kyrgyz National Security Service found to be responsible for the incident. In a September 21 program, RFE/RL reported the finding of a Kyrgyz parliamentary commission, which said the Kyrgyz NSS had tried to frame Tekebaev, and that it was "a provocation aimed at discrediting and isolating a leader of the opposition."

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev, may be reached by email at <>. The Kyrgyz Service's website is at http://www.; English-language news about events in Kyrgyzstan can be found at

RFE/RL in the News

RFE/RL AFGHAN BROADCASTER ON BBC TV A Kabul-based broadcaster for Radio Free Afghanistan, Shagoufa Anwari, was a panelist on BBC Television on September 11, taking part in a discussion of 9/11 and its consequences for the people of Afghanistan. Anwari focused her remarks on the security situation and current phenomenon of suicide bombings in Afghanistan.

RFE/RL KYRGYZ BROADCASTS ENSHRINED IN FILM, THEATER RFE/RL broadcasts to Kyrgyzstan are becoming a permanent part of the country's cultural landscape. A just-released feature film called "The Love of a Minister's Daughter" twice shows young people listening to actual broadcasts of "Azattyk Plus," the youth program of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service. Another film released this year, "The Wedding Chest," about a romance between a Kyrgyz boy and a French girl, also featured a radio tuned to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz broadcasts with the sound of a news broadcast as background noise. An RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek reports that he went to the Tunguch theatre there to see a new play, "My Revolution, My Love," in which the hero listens to a sound track of Kyrgyz Service local news.

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Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. "RFE/RL Review" is a weekly compilation of the best programming produced by the 19 services of the RFE/RL broadcast network. RFE/RL broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of programming a week in 28 languages to 20 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia.

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