Thursday, May 1, 2014

Extreme Uzbek Broadcasting!

All Uzbekistan's tv and radio stations have been ordered to rig their facilities to be blown up!
Broadcasters in the landlocked Central Asian country must place "self-destruct devices" on transmitter gear by 14 May so, if the station falls into hostile hands, all broadcasts
can be cut instantly.
You'll recall the recent captures of broadcasting stations in Ukraine by pro-Russian forces: this is perhaps the Uzbek way of pre-empting similar events.
Uzbekistan's National Security Service (SNB) is overseeing this last resort in censorship. It's also checking ventilation ducts in broadcast buildings: ducts and shafts leading toward studios must not be big enough for anyone to crawl through.
No more live programming either, not even news. At least two men from the Interior Ministry must be part of every station's staff. And only a handful of people would have access to a station's detonation device... hopefully no-one who's pissed off with the boss!
Journalists must submit in advance all questions they intend to ask at a press conference, for approval, and they can't travel abroad without SNB approval.
It's standard Uzbek practice that everyone entering a station is checked and their documents scrutinised, sometimes more than once. There's also a list of topics, some going back years, that are not to be mentioned, and guests are reminded of these taboo subjects continually from the time they enter the station until their programme starts.
All this to safeguard the Uzbek version of "freedom of the press"!

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