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Protesters Demand Dismissal Of Kyrgyz State TV, Radio Chief

BISHKEK -- Dozens of employees at the Kyrgyz National TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation (UTRK) have begun a protest against the company's director.

The protesters, who began demonstrating in downtown Bishkek on December 3, are demanding the dismissal of UTRK Director Melis Eshimkanov for failing to transform the state company into a public television and radio station and for his "poor management."

Prominent TV producer Assol Moldakhmatova, an organizer of the picket, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that protesters may begin a hunger strike if Eshimkanov is not fired.

Four of the protesting staffers are meeting on December 4 with Kyrgyz State Secretary Dosbol Nur-uulu, who deals with cultural issues.

Eshimkanov, a former opposition lawmaker, was appointed UTRK director by President Kurmanbek Bakiev in October 2007. He has been criticized by media watchdog groups for failing to carry out promised reforms.