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U.S. State Department Concerned By Halt Of RFE/RL Kyrgyz Broadcasts

Radio Azattyk's TV news programs have also been suspended
The U.S. State Department has expressed concern over the move by authorities in Kyrgyzstan to block Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and has called for broadcasts to resume.

A State Department statement said Azattyk's programs, including its popular television news programs, "provide a public service as a source of information for the Kyrgyz people." It said they "make a valuable contribution to free media, open debate, and democratic development in Kyrgyzstan."

The statement said the United States urges the Kyrgyz government to work with RFE/RL to permit the resumption of broadcasts of these programs as soon as possible.

The Organization For Security And Cooperation In Europe (OSCE) has also urged Kyrgyz authorities to restore RFE/RL radio and television broadcasts, which have been suspended by Kyrgyz state-controlled radio and television since October 8.

Kyrgyz officials have described Azattyk programs as too critical of the government, and demanded the right to review Azattyk programs before broadcast -- a condition rejected as unacceptable by RFE/RL's leadership.