Washington, D.C., July 13, 2006, The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has demanded the immediate release of a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) arrested by authorities in Turkmenistan and held incommunicado since June 18.
BBG Chairman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson said a resolution condemning the arrest of Ogulsapar Muradova and her three children received unanimous approval by the Board.
“It is intolerable that our journalists in Turkmenistan have become targets of harassment and arrest,” Tomlinson said. “We will not be intimidated by this latest attempt to prevent the people of Turkmenistan to receive news of events in their own country and elsewhere and we will continue to find ways to get the truth out.”
RFE/RL Acting President Jeffrey N. Trimble asserted that, even as it continues its efforts to secure Mrs. Muradova’s freedom, RFE/RL will maintain the focus of its Turkmen language broadcasts: “Our journalists will continue to provide the credible news, analysis, and discussion of domestic and regional issues expected by our listeners. To do less would be a disservice to Mrs. Muradova and the people of Turkmenistan.”
The resolution also calls on the Turkmen government to “cease all interference with the right of journalists in Turkmenistan to gather and report information freely.”
In March of this year, two other Turkmenistan-based reporters for RFE/RL were arrested and later released after signing a statement they would stop their reporting activities.
Since her arrest on unknown charges, Muradova has not been allowed to contact a lawyer or any other civilians. Muradova’s three adult children were also arrested but released after a 12 day detention.
In addition to RFE/RL, the Broadcasting Board of Governors oversees all U.S. non-military broadcasting entities, including the Voice of America, the Office of Cuban Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported, non-military international broadcasting, including The Voice of America (VOA); Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL); the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa); Radio Free Asia (RFA); and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Mart