Turkmenistan’s Melon Day, and no TV

Turkmenistan’s seven state-owned TV channels helped celebrate the nation’s national Melon Day holiday on August 12th, but while would-be TV viewers no doubt enjoyed the glut of melons available, there are few clues as to what’s on any of the TV channels as the broadcasters have totally given up on TV schedules.

Indeed, BBC Monitoring says that for about seven months since the start of the February presidential election campaign (won by the incumbent Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov with 89 per cent of the vote) the channels each focus on praising the president, and “there is no difference in content”. One channel, however, stands out, which is the Owazy Music channel, which airs non-stop traditional and patriotic music seen as the least-worst option of the lot. The others focus pretty much full time on the president making official visits, touring the country and opening new facilities. His speeches get full coverage.

The BBC report says that Russia’s 18 TV channels available by satellite has prompted one private printing house to publish weekly TV schedules of the 18 Russian channels, and business is booming.

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