Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Moscow expresses concern over disruption of Russian-language broadcasts in Turkmenistan

Moscow is concerned over the disruption of Mayak Radio broadcasts in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, the Russian Foreign Ministry's PR department says in a comment.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry claims that Mayak radio broadcasts have been suspended temporarily, citing the need to re-equip and repair receiving and transmitting installations.

With this in mind, officials in Russia have expressed hope that Mayak broadcasts to Turkmen audiences will resume in full as soon as the repairs are over and that the works will not take long to complete.

Mayak broadcasts on FM, Medium Wave radio, and via cable stopped this past Saturday, July 10, and it is still unclear when the broadcasting will resume.

Turkmenistan's Communications Ministry says that the disruption of the cable broadcasting of programs by three national radio channels and Russia's Mayak Radio was caused by the breakdown of outdated equipment, such as amplifiers. Also, it has been decided that the Turkmen radio Vatan, which has no FM or AM frequencies of its own, will take over Mayak's frequencies, the ministry reports. Until recently, local audiences could listen to Mayak 18 hours a day, and programs offered by this leading Russian broadcaster won high popularity with ethnic Turkmens as well as Russians. This was Turkmenistan's only Russian-language radio, as all national channels broadcast in the Turkmen language.

Now that Mayak broadcasts have been suspended, audiences in Turkmenistan cannot access any Russian news media outlet without satellite antennas. Programs by the Russian television network ORT are available locally in two-hour rebroadcasts only and subscription for Russian-language periodicals closed back in July 2002.