In Kyrgyzstan, people beam at the mention of Radio Azattyk, he writes.

Posted: 23 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
Commentary, 23 Apr 2010, James Kirchick: "[I]t isn't true that the United States government was fully behind Bakiyev, a complaint I often heard on the streets. Last year's State Department Human Rights report strongly criticized Bakiyev's regime for a variety of abuses, including 'restrictions on citizens'right to change their government,' 'arbitrary arrest and detention,' and 'pervasive corruption.' U.S.-government-funded organizations like the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute have long supported democracy-building and civil-society programs. Perhaps most significant of all has been Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz-language service of the congressionally funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which is the most trusted news outlet in the country thanks to its coverage of corruption, human rights violations, and everyday political developments. Nearly every person I speak to in Kyrgyzstan beams at the mention of its name. Indicative of this popularity is that the morning after Bakiyev escaped to the south, the chief of Azattyk's Bishkek bureau became head of state television."
EurasiaNet, 21 Apr 2010, Sen. John Kerry: "The new leaders of Kyrgyzstan have a responsibility and opportunity to bring stability and prosperity to their country. They will need to take concrete action to help liberalize their political and economic systems. Already, provisional government leaders have taken a bold step by restoring Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty programming, which was taken off national airwaves nearly two years ago for political reasons.", 19 Apr 2010, press release from "Friends and Family of Vugar Khalilov": "Since the beginning of this week, a UK citizen has been held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan without legal representation or access to British consular assistance, in direct contravention of international and local laws. ... Vugar Khalilov worked for more than 20 years as a professional journalist for media outlets like BBC and Radio Liberty, upholding the values of objective and independent journalism, democracy and justice. He has at times risked his own life to determine the truth of a story."