|09ASHGABAT1088||2009-08-31 10:16:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Ashgabat|
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UNCLAS ASHGABAT 001088
1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Not for public Internet.
2. (U) SUMMARY: August saw media provide generally accurate and
favorable coverage of U.S. Government-related events in
Turkmenistan. Media accurately covered the CENTCOM delegation's
August 15 visit to Turkmenistan, with most of the foreign news
agencies largely referring to Turkmenistan Government official
outlets in their reports on the visit. Also, media accurately
highlighted the recent USG equipment donation to the State
Counternarcotics Service of Turkmenistan, USAID's workshop on local
self-governance, and the annual USG programs alumni reunion. END
MEDIA HIGHLIGHT U.S. CENTCOM DELEGATION VISIT TO TURKMENISTAN
3. (U) On August 15, the government-run website "Turkmenistan
Golden Age" (www.turkmenistan.gov.tm) (Turkmen, Russian and English)
posted an accurate short report on U.S. CENTCOM General David
Petraeus' visit. The same report was carried on state-run dailies
"Neutral Turkmenistan" (Russian, circ. 49,091) and "Turkmenistan"
(Turkmen, circ. 39,091) on August 17.
4. (U) On August 16, Turkmen opposition website "Gundogar"
(Russian) and Russian news agency "IA REGNUM" (Russian), referring
to state media, accurately highlighted the visit. On August 17,
"Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty" (RFE/RL) Turkmen Service and an
independent news website "TURKMENinform" (Russian) also posted
accurate stories on the visit. The RFE/RL story accurately quoted
the embassy spokesman on the visit. The following day, Kyrgyzstan
based "CA-NEWS" (Russian) and Kazakh News agency "Kazakhstan
Newsline" (English) also posted accurate articles on the visit.
"Kazakhstan Newsline" referred to the RFE/RL story.
MEDIA HIGHLIGHT U.S. EMBASSY'S EQUIPMENT DONATION TO THE COUNTER
NARCOTICS SERVICE OF TURKMENISTAN
5. (U) On August 6, Azeri news agency "Trend" (Russian) reprinted a
post-issued press release on the U.S. Embassy's donation of vehicles
and counter narcotics equipment to the State counter narcotics
service of Turkmenistan. The following day, "US Fed News" (English)
also picked up on the Embassy press release.
AZERI NEWS WEBSITE HIGHLIGHTS USAID SUPPORT OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNANCE
6. (U) On August 10-11, Azeri news agency "Trend" (Russian,
English) accurately reprinted the post-issued press release on USAID
and UN Development Program's organized workshop to support local
self-governance in Turkmenistan.
U.S. WEBSITE HIGHLIGHTS ANNUAL ALUMNI REUNION
7. (U) On August 13, "Targeted News Service" (English), referring
to the Embassy's website, accurately reported on post's annual
Alumni Reunion. The event took place on August 8-9, and gathered
the alumni of various U.S. Government sponsored exchange programs.
8. (SBU) COMMENT: Throughout August, media continued to favorably
cover post-organized events and USAID projects. However, several
journalists with state-run news organizations reported that their
"editors" would not allow them to provide in-depth reporting on our
Alumni Reunion given "the existing tough situation related to
Turkmen students' study abroad." This obviously refers to problems
that students have faced departing to study at the American
University in Central Asia. END COMMENT.