Ever-expanding news “black hole”
Turkmenistan is one of the world’s most closed countries and the only one, aside from North Korea, not to have acknowledged that it had any Covid-19 cases. The government controls all media and the few Internet users are able to access only a highly-censored version of the Internet, often in Internet cafés in which they must show ID before being able to go online. There is only one Internet access provider. But all this does not satisfy President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who is also known as “Father Protector”. Harassment of the few journalists who work clandestinely for media outlets based abroad keeps on growing. In recent years, several of these journalists have been arrested, tortured, physically attacked or otherwise forced to stop working, with the result that these media now tend to use the services of citizen-journalists. On a pretext of making the cities more visually appealing, the authorities periodically revive a campaign of removing satellite dishes, thereby depriving the public of one of the few remaining ways to access uncontrolled news coverage. The broadcasting law provides in theory for the possibility of privately-owned TV channels but only on condition that they promote “a positive image of Turkmenistan”.
179 in 2020
85.44 in 2020