Uzbekistan gives mixed signals on openness


TASHKENT -- Uzbekistani authorities are giving mixed signals on how much openness they will permit, media are reporting.

Bobur Alikhonov Tuesday (August 29) became the third chief of the country's National Television and Radio Co. to be fired since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power last September, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Wednesday (August 30). Both Alikhonov and Mirziyoyev spokesman Asadjon Khojayev were fired Tuesday with no official announcement.

The firings come after a short-lived experiment in allowing state TV to conduct live talk shows and panel discussions in which journalists queried government officials. That experiment ended August 21, state journalists told RFE/RL August 22.

Meanwhile, a beloved Uzbekistani singer Sherali Jurayev Monday (August 28) performed at the opening in Tashkent of the Sharq Taronalari international music festival, reported. His rendition of "During the spring festival" ended his 20-year, officially imposed absence from the festival.

Jurayev had not appeared on Uzbekistani TV or radio since 1993, after somehow antagonising Mirziyoyev's long-time predecessor, the late Islam Karimov.

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