Niyazov: One Big Joke After All

by Deirdre on 11/8/2007 · 1 comment

A recent Channel4 TV news report about the rise of religion in and around the Ferghana valley billed Kyrgyzstan as “inhospitable and obscure to the point of parody.” Sure, Kyrgyzstan is poor and remote, but the notion of parody is not confined to just the Kyrgyz, according to an essay by Eric Freedman in the latest edition of Central Asia and the Caucasus, No. 5, 2007.

In “Framing the Turkmenbashi: Western Press Portrayals of the Late President of Turkmenistan” Freedman surveys BBC, IWPR and EurasiaNet’s coverage of Niyazov between 2004 and 2005. He found that each was given too slipping in references to Niyazov’s personal “idiosyncrasies” no matter what the actual subject of the story. The editorial focus on Niyazov’s taste for the authoritarian and extravagant eclipsed or diluted other relevant news from Turkmenistan, says Freedman, Assistant Dean, International Studies and Programs at Michigan State University.

But he also points out that in the current foreign news climate Turkmenistan probably only made it on to the news list because of the “novelty value” of having a total nutter as head of state.

With Berdymuhamedov proving to be as dull as dishwater and no new non-existent “ice palaces” in the offing, we may expect a dearth of titillating Turkmen tidbits from the pages of even the most internationally minded news outlets.

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{ 1 comment }

rodsjournal November 11, 2007 at 12:08 am

Hi Deirdre, you’ve linked to the CA & CC Press incorrectly…thought you might like to know…cheers.


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