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Authorities Turn Kyrgyz TV And Radio Company Into Public Broadcaster

The move is likely to be welcomed by the Kyrgyz public and free-media advocates alike.
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's interim government has issued a decree turning the state-run National Television and Radio Company (KTR) into a public broadcaster to be overseen by an independent board, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Omurbek Tekebaev, a deputy chairman of the interim government, told RFE/RL that turning the station into a public television network is important to show people that the interim government wants to be transparent in its activities.

The decree calls for the establishment of a control board for the station that will be made up of members from nongovernmental organizations and independent journalists. The board will select the managers of the station and regulate its programming.

Creating a public television station was among the first promises the interim government made after it assumed power following clashes between antigovernment protesters and security forces in Bishkek that toppled former President Kurmanbek Bakiev on April 7.

Opposition leaders had called on Bakiev to transform state TV into a public broadcaster after he came to power in 2005, but he resisted those requests.

Acting KTR Director Kubat Otorbaev was the chief of the Bishkek bureau of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service before the April 7 events.