RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
Uzbek National Television and Radio Company chief Bobur Alikhonov has been dismissed after less than a month in the job, media reports said on August 30.
Alikhonov's removal would make him the third head of the state broadcaster to lose his job since President Shavkat Mirziyoev came to power in September 2016 after the death of autocratic longtime leader Islam Karimov.
Several media outlets reported that both Alikhonov and the head of the presidential press office, Asadjon Khojaev, were dismissed on August 29.
There was no official comment. The reports come amid controversy over the brief introduction of live TV talk shows in the tightly controlled country, which has no independent media.
Alikhonov was appointed on August 2, replacing Khurshid Mirzohidov, who had held the position since February.Mirzohidov had replaced Alisher Khojaev, who had headed the state broadcaster since 2005.
Mirziyoev has cultivated an image of increased openness and has criticized state TV, suggesting it should tone down the sycophantic praise for government officials and start to reflect the interests of ordinary people.
Following some of that criticism, state television introduced live talk shows and panel discussions in which government officials faced journalists.
But that experiment appears to have come to an end.
State media journalists told RFE/RL on August 22 that Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov ordered a stop to all live shows except for newscasts after a tense meeting the previous day with state TV officials and employees.
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