TV Stations Struggle With Language Rules

Television stations in southern Kyrgyzstan are finding it hard to comply with rules requiring them to broadcast 50 per cent of their material in Kyrgyz.

TV Stations Struggle With Language Rules

Television stations in southern Kyrgyzstan are finding it hard to comply with rules requiring them to broadcast 50 per cent of their material in Kyrgyz.

Tuesday, 12 May, 2009
The requirement was brought in mainly to restrict the amount of Russian-language programmes broadcast in Kyrgyzstan and boost use of the titular nation’s language. When it was introduced in media legislation passed last year, many TV and radio broadcasters across the country called for it to be softened because they did not have the capacity to produce so much Kyrgyz-language output, but despite these appeals, it was left unchanged when the law was amended in April.


In the south of the country, Uzbeks form a substantial community and local TV stations have geared some of their programming to them, adding a third language to the mix. But by failing to meet the 50 per cent Kyrgyz quota, they are falling foul of the law, reports Janar Akaev.



Osh TV and Mezon TV, for example, are struggling to fill their broadcasting time with Kyrgyz-language material because they buy most of it in from external sources.



Mezon has received written instructions from the prosecution service to submit its programme schedule every day. The station lists how long each programme is and what language it is in. At the moment, the mix at Mezon TV is over 50 per cent in Russian, 15 per cent Uzbek and 35 per cent Kyrgyz.



With the best will in the world, the station finds sourcing Kyrgyz material a problem. There are very few feature films in the language, and viewers complain when they are repeated. Feature films in Uzbek tend to be dubbed versions of foreign productions, produced in Uzbekistan.



Avazbek Asanov, who sits on Osh’s city council, says the Uzbek-language channels are breaking the rules and should show more respect for the country. “It isn’t a matter for discussion. The fact that there’s even an argument about it is a disgrace,” he said.



For more on the amended media legislation, see Disappointment at Kyrgyz Media Law Changes, RCA RCA No. 574, 27-Apr-09.)

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