President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on May 2 signed a decree creating a 24-hour free-to-air O'zbekiston 24 (Uzbekistan 24) news and analytical TV and radio channel parented by the flagship National Television and Radio Company (NTRC), a source in the government said.
The intent of creating the channel, with a network of reporters both in provinces and abroad, is to "bring to audiences of objective and reliable news, filling the national media space with high-quality stories and analytical products that provide operational coverage of significant Uzbekistan and international politics, security, economy, culture, science and sports events".
As it was noted in the decree, an analysis of news coverage in Uzbekistan has revealed a significant potential untapped by existing news programs, primarily "in building of an active civic position and sense of committment to ongoing reforms."
"The lack of a coherent and systemic approach to creating high-quality media content has led to formalistic air filling with non-demanded news products, little viewership and low public confidence. The current situation may result in the Uzbek news space being supplanted by other media outlets, which in most cases conduct biased coverage of Uzbekistan and international events" the document said.
O'zbekiston 24 will present live around-the-clock news broadcasting in whole of Uzbekistan on topical issues of domestic and foreign policy "based on a new format of news coverage.”
Its main goals - "timely and reliable coverage of news, their impartial and objective assessment," aimed primarily at "satisfying the demand of audiences for quality news products and preventing the spread of misleading, biased and other harmful content from the outside."
The channel should "promptly and adequately match current trends and events, building on objective and principled position on Uzbekistan’s domestic and foreign agenda." "High professional level of programs" shall be ensured through introduction of "high-end media technologies, modern standards and creative approaches in news coverage."
The objectives of O'zbekiston 24 also include assistance in establishing "of an open direct dialogue between government officials and the public, while engaging observers, experts and academia to debate on pressing social problems and topical issues on the ground."
The new channel is expected to be launched in the coming months.