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Tajikistan Suspends BBC's FM Radio Service

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and visiting Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov (L) shake hands in Tehran, 17 January (epa) 19 January 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Tajikistan has suspended the local FM radio service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC.

The move affects broadcasts in the capital Dushanbe and the northern city of Khujand. The BBC's services on medium and short wave are unaffected, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The decision to suspend the service was made on 10 January and follows the adoption of a law requiring foreign media outlets with FM services to register with the Justice Ministry.

The BBC said the 20-day registration deadline had been "unrealistic" because the process normally took up to six months to complete.

Britain's envoy to Tajikistan, Graeme Loten, said in a statement that the embassy had expressed its concern to the Tajik Foreign Ministry. He called the suspension a "misunderstanding."

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, Igor Sattarov, told reporters that his ministry was working with the Justice Ministry and the BBC to resolve what he called a "procedural question."

(RFE/RL's Tajik Service)