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Tajik TV Station Off The Air Due To Unpaid Electric Bills

SMT chief Zinatulloh Ismoilov said his station can't pay.
DUSHANBE -- A popular independent television station in Dushanbe has been off the air since last week due to unpaid electricity bills, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

SMT-TV Director Zinatulloh Ismoilov told RFE/RL that his company has no money to pay the electric bills. He said that the Sharqi Ozod publishing house, the owner of the SMT studios, cut off the electricity to the television station on March 13.

Nuriddin Qarshiboev, the head of National Media Alliance, an NGO that monitors journalists' rights, told RFE/RL that a special request to the government urging them to revise electricity bills for SMT-TV will be made soon.

SMT is one of the most popular TV channels in Dushanbe and the surrounding area.