Turkmenistan is trying to burnish its image by passing its first law on press freedom. On January 4th, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov signed a law that bans press censorship, bars the government from monopolizing news outlets, and grants the public access to all forms of information, including independent and foreign reporting.
Unfortunately, reform appears to be only posturing and the most repressive and hermetic country in Eurasia remains just that.
New York, October 5, 2011 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the sentencing today of Dovletmurad Yazguliyev, a local correspondent for the Turkmen service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), to five years in prison on charges of inciting a relative's suicide attempt.
CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.
Even though Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymuhammedov announced two years ago the necessity of universal Internet access, the Web is more than restricted in the country. This is connected to cruel official censorship, the serious limitation of the availability and speed of Internet connections in cities, and its total absence in villages. I haven't even mentioned the high price of going online, the strict state monitoring of the few public Internet cafes in the cities, and the widespread practice of opening and inspecting instant messages and e-mails.
CPJ names the worst online oppressors. Booming online cultures in many Asian and Middle Eastern nations
have led to aggressive government repression.
Read “10 Worst Places to be a Blogger.”
New York, July 11, 2008—A contributing reporter for the Turkmen Service of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) who was forcibly held for two weeks in two different psychiatric facilities has now had his phone disabled, according to RFE/RL.
Bowing to international pressure, authorities freed Sazak Durdymuradov on July 3. A security officer warned him to “go and tell the truth” about his treatment in detention, and not to “slander” in his broadcasts, he said. Reports of Durdymuradov’s unlawful detention and alleged torture had outraged the international community, which called for his immediate release. CPJ attempted to interview Durdymuradov today, but was unable to get through to him.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.