Two Russian channels blocked in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan has withdrawn approval for the broadcast of two Russian television channels, a source said Friday, reportedly due to the high sexual content in some of their shows.
Uzbekistan cable companies in the last days stopped broadcasting two Russian TV channels, TNT and DTV, after they were excluded from the government approved list last summer, the source said.
"The list of foreign TV channels that could be retransmitted in Uzbekistan was approved last year and TNT and DTV were not listed", a source who wished not to be named told AFP.
"Some cable companies stopped retransmitting of TNT and DTV starting from January, but some of them continued. When they were warned by the controlling body, they just shut them down without properly explaining the move to their clients," he said.
An independent website uzmetronom.com with close ties to the government sources and ferghana.ru said TV features with a high erotic content were the reason for the ban.
The shows included the raunchy "Dom 2" (a Russian equivalent of Big Brother), "Sex with Anfisa Chekhova," "Goliye i Smechniye" ("Naked and Funny), "Spokoynoy Nochi Muzhiki" ("Nighty-Nite Guys").
"In Uzbekistan they are sure that such TV features are not consistent with the national mentality," uzmetronom.com said.
However, these channels are available through satellite dishes widely used throughout the country.
Uzbekistan is Central Asia's most populous country, where 90 percent of the 28 million inhabitants are Muslim. However, the secular government is wary of both religious extremist ideology and "excesses of Western liberalism".
Western and Russian movies with sexually explicit scenes, horror and action films with too much blood are also banned in the ex-Soviet republic.
Uzbekkino national cinema agency website lists 744 films banned in Uzbekistan, ranging from "Eyes Wide Shut" with Tom Cruise and ancient epic "300" and to apocalyptic television series "Dark Angels".
© 2011 AFP