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RFE/RL Launches New Television Program in Kyrgyzstan

(Prague, Czech Republic–January 17, 2006) The Kyrgyz Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL, known locally as Radio Azattyk, in partnership with Kyrgyz state television has launched a new youth program that aired for the first time on January 16. Called “Azattyk Plus TV Show,” the 30-minute program is aimed at young people aged 15 to 29. RFE/RL Acting President Jeff Trimble noted that latest census figures show nearly 30 percent of the Kyrgyz population, or one and a half million people, belong into this age bracket. “We aim to attract these young people to Radio Azattyk and its message of democracy,” Trimble said.

The first Azattyk Plus TV Show aired at 5:30 PM Kyrgyz time (6:30 AM EST) with segments on Internet cafes in Kyrgyzstan, the meaning and practice of flash-mobbing, how the Internet brings families together and other topics. RFE/RL’s partner, the Kyrgyz National Broadcasting Corporation (KTR) is the only nation-wide TV network in the country. It will carry Azattyk Plus TV Show as a weekly, live program, providing technical support. Under the partnership agreement, RFE/RL has full editorial control. The show is prepared and moderated by broadcasters in RFE/RL’s Bishkek bureau and the audio will be rebroadcast the next day on Radio Azattyk.

Azattyk Plus TV Show is RFE/RL’s second program on Kyrgyz television. Radio Azattyk’s award-winning talk show, “Inconvenient Questions,” has been on KTR since May 2005. The weekly program features one guest answering tough questions from an RFE/RL host on business, politics, social problems and the economy. The independent “Zamandash” magazine last month gave “Inconvenient Questions” an award for “the best TV show of 2005.”