Turkmenistan: Ban on recorded music in all public places

26 August 2005
Turkmenistan’s president Saparmurat Niyazov has banned the playing of recorded music at all public events, on television and at weddings, saying he wants to protect Turkmen culture. BBC News reports.

In an attempt to protect Turkmen culture from “negative influences” and minimise foreign influence in the isolated former Soviet state, sandwiched between Iran and Afghanistan, Turkmenistan’s president, Mr Niyazov, has issued a new decree which bans sound recordings “at musical performances on state holidays, in broadcasts by Turkmen television channels, at all cultural events organised by state… in places of mass assembly and at weddings and celebrations organised by the public”.
The authoritarian president has already banned opera and ballet, describing them as “unnecessary”, and car radios are forbidden as well.
Mr Niyazov’s decree was published in the official daily newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan (Neutral Turkmenistan). The president was quoted by the newspaper as saying the move aimed to “protect true culture, including the musical and singing traditions of the Turkmen people”.
And in comments broadcast on state television, Mr Niyazov told his cabinet:
“Unfortunately, one can see on television old voiceless singers lip-synching their old songs. Don’t kill talents by using lip-synching… create our new culture.”
Mr Niyazov – known as Turkmenbashi, or ‘Father of the Turkmen’ – has ruled the desert state since the Soviet times.


BBC News: ‘Turkmenistan bans recorded music’
Times Online: ‘The leader now outlaws lip-synching’

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