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RFE/RL Launches 'Central Asian Crossroads'

Central Asia -- map, undated
Central Asia -- map, undated

A new radio venture incorporates RFE's five Central Asian services into one region-wide broadcast.

RFE has begun airing "Central Asian Crossroads," a weekly 30 minute broadcast comprised of reports from all five Central Asian language services.The program - which is jointly-produced by the Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, and Uzbek services – is broadcast all in Russian, with the five services trading moderating duties on a rotating basis. Russian is an official language in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and is widely spoken in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

“The purpose," says RFE's Associate Director of Broadcasting Abbas Djavadi, "is to create a bridge among Central Asians. To help them understand and appreciate their lives and challenges, to boost tolerance for ethnicities and religious groups, and to raise awareness about extremism, terrorism and violence while stressing the need for peace and cooperation.”

Centered around a retrospective of the year 2010, the first installment of “Central Asian Crossroads” featured a roundtable discussion of Freedom House’s 2010 human rights findings in the region. Such discussions could become a regular feature of the program as it addresses the issues common to that part of the continent. Other topics that “Crossroads” intends to tackle in the next few weeks include inter-ethnic marriages, winter-time gas and fuel shortages, illegal border crossings, and the rise of fundamentalism. “We will also be looking at issues at play in the countries to the South, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran,” adds Djavadi.

Meanwhile, the Central Asian services will soon activate subpages on their websites featuring Russian language transcripts of the reports featured on the show.

“Central Asian Crossroads” airs weekends, with times varying according to service.