Is Turkmenistan using technology as an excuse to block international media?

Aug 23, 2011
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Satellite dishes have been declared a stain on Ashgabat’s landscape by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov, but is the move to scrap the dishes a ploy to curtail access to international media?

The Moscow Times reports that the move could restrict access to foreign television channels in the country – one of the few means by which residents of Turkmenistan can access independent channels in a country dominated by state media and where internet access is at a premium.

Neweurasia has more on the situation:

The news that Turkmenistan is converting to digital broadcasting and building a new television station outside Ashgabat seems fantastic for advancement in the country’s media situation. But, wait a minute, there is a catch – all private satellite dishes must go.

But why? Is it because they “adversely affect the architectural and urban planning shape [of] the country’s capital“, as President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov says, or is it simply a way to control information in Turkmenistan? The latter seems more realistic – if thinking straightforwardly via the Turkmen media context.

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About the Author

Andrew Fenwick

Andrew is multimedia editor at Transitions Online and a freelance journalist. Email: andrew.fenwick@tol.org
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