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Uzbekistan Launches 24-Hour News Channel

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyaev

Uzbekistan has launched a 24-hour television news channel that officials say marks a step away from isolation for the Central Asian country.

Ozbekistan-24 began broadcasting on July 24, with staff greeting viewers and saying "it's time for Uzbekistan to wake up."

They stressed that the idea of a round-the-clock channel with reports in Uzbek, Russian, and English was initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyaev in May.

Bobur Alihanov, deputy chairman of Uzbekistan's National Television and Radio Company, said that the channel will cover the news in "an unbiased and balanced way" but will support "Uzbekistan's position."

The new channel plans to add reports in the Kazakh, Karakalpak, Kyrgyz, and Tajik languages in the future.

Mirziyaev has taken some steps to open up the long-isolated country of some 30 million since he became president after longtime autocrat Islam Karimov's death was announced in September 2016.

With reporting by and TASS
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