US-funded radio refuses Kyrgyzstan's conditions
The U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty condemned as "unacceptable" conditions set by authorities in Kyrgyzstan for the network to resume broadcasting in the post-Soviet republic.
The network said in a statement that its Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Radio Azattyk, will not be allowed to broadcast unless its programming is first submitted to the government for approval, or guarantees it will not be offensive.
The statement late Monday said Melis Eshimkanov, who heads Kyrgyzstan's state broadcaster, said the station was too negative and critical of the government.
The station's managing body said the conditions were unacceptable.
"The mission of providing unbiased news and information cannot be compromised," said Jeffrey Hirschberg of the Washington-based Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees all U.S. international broadcasting. "Such proposed censorship conditions are unacceptable."
In early October, the state broadcaster, Kyrgyz National Radio and Television Corporation, halted broadcasts of Radio Azattyk. In December, it also stopped broadcasting BBC programming on its airwaves.
Eshimkanov previously said Radio Azattyk owed the state broadcaster money, a charge rejected by Jeffrey Gedmin, the network's president.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, nonprofit corporation that receives funding from the U.S. government. It broadcasts in 28 languages to 21 countries and its headquarters are in Prague, reported 24.kg.