The presidential election campaign is in full swing in Kyrgyzstan. That means the state television channel, the Central Asian nation’s most popular source for news, is turning into a battleground.
Following the Spring 2010 tumult that resulted in the collapse of Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s administration, Kyrgyzstan’s new leadership took steps to revamp the Obschestvennaya Tele-Radio Kompaniya (OTRK), aiming to turn it into a publicly run institution free of politically motivated meddling. The changes drew praise from media analysts. But with the high-stakes election due to be held in late October, observers worry that political pressures on the state television channel, as well as lingering structural problems, may upend the experiment in public broadcasting.
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Chris Rickleton is a Bishkek-based journalist.