TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan has launched a 24-hour television news channel that officials say marks a step away from isolation for the Central Asian country, RFE/RL reports.
Ozbekistan-24 began broadcasting on July 24, with staff greeting viewers and saying “it’s time for Uzbekistan to wake up”.
They stressed that the idea of a round-the-clock channel with reports in Uzbek, Russian, and English was initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in May.
Bobur Alihanov, deputy chairman of Uzbekistan’s National Television and Radio Company, said that the channel will cover the news in “an unbiased and balanced way” but will support “Uzbekistan’s position”.
The new channel plans to add reports in the Kazakh, Karakalpak, Kyrgyz, and Tajik languages in the future.
For the first time on Uzbekistan’s national television, the new channel plans to open correspondent offices abroad.
Mirziyoyev has taken some steps to open up the long-isolated country of some 30 million since he became president after longtime autocrat Islam Karimov’s death was announced in September 2016.
Earlier this year it was reported that President Mirziyoyev criticized the work of state television channels for their old-fashioned and boring presentation of news and the lack of analytical reports. The president then recommended the national television to introduce new programs and become more analytical.