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Tajikistan Seeks To Extend Reach Of National Broadcasters

Tajik officials said it will still take several years before all parts of the northern Sughd Province can receive national TV and radio programs, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

State broadcasting official Saidkamol Nabiev told RFE/RL that Tajikteleradiocom has 170 transmitters in Sughd Province that broadcast eight TV and radio programs that reach some 70 percent of the province's population.

But he said in order to extend coverage to the rest of the province, more than 1,000 additional transmitters are needed as almost all remote mountainous villages -- especially on the border with Uzbekistan -- need individual transmitters.

He said it could take until 2020 to install enough transmitters for everyone in the province to have TV and radio reception.

A woman named Mavjuda from the village of Somoniyon in Sughd's Asht district, said Tajik TV and radio signals are weak, and the Uzbek and even Kyrgyz programs are much easier to receive.

She said that is why Tajiks in her village watch TV programs from neighboring countries instead of Tajik state TV programs.

Tajikistan affairs expert Jura Yusufi warned that this practice results in people receiving conflicting information. He said that last year, on orders from the Tajik government, state TV and radio extolled the benefits that the controversial Roghun hydropower plant would bring to the country.

At the same time, Uzbek media outlets were fiercely criticizing the project and warning that it would drastically reduce the amount of water Uzbekistan receives, damaging the country's agricultural output.