Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has banned the playing of recorded music on television, at public events, and both public and private wedding ceremonies. Turkmenistan’s official daily newspaper, Neitralny Turkmenistan, quotes President Niyazov as stating that the ban is intended to “protect true culture, including the musical and singing traditions of the Turkmen people.” The office of the president said recorded music and lip synching has “a negative effect on the development of singing and musical art.” In a cabinet meeting broadcast on national television, Niyazov said “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.”

President Niyazov has a history of regulating cultural influences in Turkmenistan. He has outlawed long hair or beards and capped teeth, required video monitors in all public places, and banned car radios and certain performing arts like opera and ballet, deeming them “unnecessary.”