No more songs of praise, says Tajik president

February 22,2019

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DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: Tajikistan´s authoritarian leader has called for an end to pop songs praising him, state television said Thursday, as the leadership cult surrounding the 66-year-old gathers strength. The long-reigning strongman Emomali Rakhmon had "expressed concern" at "excessive advertising of the president´s personality through music videos," it said.

"The president instructed the leadership of the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting instead to highlight the tireless work of the population, the country´s significant achievements, the unique nature of this ancient land," it said.

Presidential personality cults are the norm in ex-Soviet Central Asia, where leaders face little political opposition or independent media.

In neighbouring Uzbekistan, authorities have also cautioned against music praising President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The head of the state agency responsible for regulating the pop industry said this week that Mirziyoyev "does not need an advert from artists" after one singer released a song "Selfie with my President".

The song was played regularly on the country´s most popular entertainment channel but was widely criticised by Uzbek social media users. In Turkmenistan, another formerly communist Central Asian country, former dentist Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov implored officials and media not to praise him after coming to power in 2006.


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