7 july 2020

Central Asia news

BBC newsreader fired following confirmation of his involvement into the April 2010 revolution in Kyrgyzstan

11.04.2011 10:40 msk


BBC newsreader Arslan Koichiev has resigned following an internal investigation of his role in the April revolution of 2010 in Kyrgyzstan, The Telegraph reported. The investigation has established that Arslan Koichiev who worked as a producer and broadcaster in the BBC's Central Asia & Caucasus Service had actually visited Bishkek in early 2010 and helped foment the revolution that toppled Kurmanbek Bakiev, the former Kyrgyz president. Indeed, Arslan Koichiev produced and presented a news and current affairs show from central London and lectured on Kyrgyzstan at British universities but he did travel regularly to the Central Asia.

The clandestine activity of Arslan Koichiev was revealed in an interview given by Kyrgyzstan minister for youth affairs Aliasbek Alymkulov. Evening Standard refers to an “interview to a Russian newspaper”, but The Telegraph points to a newspaper called the “Delovoi Kyrgyzstan” (Business Kyrgyzstan).

Mr Alymkulov claimed that Koichiev arranged secret meetings "through the BBC" and organized the march at the presidential palace on the 7th of April, 2010. According to the London Evening Standard, Mr Alymkulov actually said the following: "My anger reached its limit after the trial of Ismail Isakov (former defence minister). I discussed this with my mentor Arslan Koichiev from the BBC and we began very cautious preparations”, when describing his decision to start the revolution against Bakiev. He also related that Koichiev and another possible activist Ulan Momunaliyev took great risks: “They were hunted, there were two accidents arranged, an attempt to pour acid over them. They were nearly killed." One may recall that Aliasbek Alymkulov was shot twice in the head on April 7 and hardly survived.

According to the London Evening Standard, after that interview the BBC launched an internal investigation. Whereas The Telegraph claims that the investigation was started by the BBC bosses after hearing complaints from a British citizen Vugar Khalilov, director of “Flexi Communications” agency. In any case, the BBC has strict rules governing the impartiality of its journalists, which were broken by Arslan Koichiev. A senior BBC source said: "When these guys are out in the field it is difficult for people in London to keep track."

To top it all, Koichiev was accused of appearing on a Kyrgyz radio station under a pseudonym and disguising his voice. However, according to the London Evening Standard, he denies all claims.