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Turkmen President Sacks Niyazov-Era Media Censor

Poladov was said to not be a supporter of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's reforms.
ASHGABAT -- Annamyrat Poladov has been relieved of his post as editor in chief of the daily government newspaper "Turkmenistan," RFE/RL's Turkmen Service reports.

Poladov, who was dismissed in a decree by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov citing health reasons, was known to be the unofficial controller of other state publications.

He was a strong supporter of former Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov and had held high-level positions in the state media since Soviet times.

Some local journalists say that Poladov's removal might signal an easing of the state's tight control of the media, as he was responsible for silencing liberal members of state publications.

Poladov was not a supporter of reforms as pledged by Berdymukhammedov, and had been moved to the job at "Turkmenistan" by the president last year.

"Turkmenistan" has a circulation of some 60,000 and is considered a leading newspaper.