BBC Kyrgyz marks 20 years on air with special content - and 3 million weekly reach on TV

We are thrilled to see that our unique BBC output - news, analysis and documentaries - is enjoyed and appreciated by so many people. Hamid Ismailov, Editor, BBC Central Asian Services
Date: 02.06.2016     Last updated: 02.06.2016 at 10.42
Category: World Service
As BBC Kyrgyz marks its 20th anniversary on Friday 3 June with special content across its three platforms, a survey in Kyrgyzstan has shown that the service reaches 3 million viewers on TV every week – half of the country’s population.

BBC Central Asian Services Editor, Hamid Ismailov, says: “As we celebrate 20 years on air, and now online, we are thrilled to see that our unique BBC output - news, analysis and documentaries - is enjoyed and appreciated by so many people. Not only the 3 million who watch BBC Kyrgyz on TV every week, but the additional more than half a million people who tune in to its radio programmes – a more than five-fold growth of radio audience since 2010.”

BBC Kyrgyz TV and radio content – including the Monday to Friday TV news bulletin and the monthly documentary programme BBC Sapar (Journey) - is broadcast by Public TV and Radio Broadcasting Corporation of the Kyrgyz Republic and is available via the BBC Kyrgyz website,, its YouTube channel, on Facebook and Twitter.

To mark its 20th anniversary, special output has been commissioned to reflect the role BBC Kyrgyz has played in covering the issues that matter to its audiences, and the evolution of media freedom in Kyrgyzstan. The radio broadcasts at 19.00, 20.00 and 21.00 Bishkek Time (13.00, 14.00 and 15.00 GMT) on the day will be hosted from London and Bishkek, joined by veteran BBC Kyrgyz journalists who will be looking back at key events of the last two decades.

The website and the BBC Kyrgyz channel on YouTube will feature three TV programmes, recorded with a student audience in Bishkek and Osh, which look at some of the major issues recently covered by BBC Sapar: the challenges faced by ethnic Kyrgyz moving to Kyrgyzstan from neighbouring countries; the problem of potable water in Kyrgyzstan; and the centennial of the uprising in Central Asia against the Russian Empire in 1916.

As part of the special output, the anniversary edition of BBC Sapar on Tuesday 21 June will highlight the BBC Kyrgyz broadcasts that led to changed attitudes - or even changes in legislation.

As Senior Producer, BBC Kyrgyz, Gulnara Kasmambetova, observes: “BBC Kyrgyz has a track record of highlighting issues that lead to public debate and public policy changes. Whether it’s threats to mountain glaciers from changing climate or pollution, to homelessness, to the age ratings of TV programmes – we have been at the forefront of public debate for 20 years.”

BBC Kyrgyz is part of BBC World Service.