Turkmenistan | Page 4 | Freedom House

Turkmenistan

5.2 million people
4,800 USD GNI (PPP)
Press:
Not Free
Not Free

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Each year at this time, Freedom House issues a report on the state of global media freedom. The overall findings for 2012 were bleak: Just 14 percent of the world's population lives in societies that enjoy vibrant coverage of public affairs, a legal environment that undergirds a free press, and freedom from intrusion by the government or other political forces.  The countries profiled are members of an ignoble club -- the 10 most serious violators of press freedom in the world.

The world was outraged when a 14-year-old girl in Pakistan was shot in the head last week simply for being an ardent advocate for the right of girls to an education. Unfortunately, Malala's case is not an isolated one. In most parts of the world today, individuals and organizations working to advance social, political, and environmental justice face imminent danger as a result of their work. In the past two months alone, a 70-year-old activist in Cambodia was sentenced to 20 years in prison because he challenged the government's policy of confiscating local land for powerful corporate interests; in southern India, police used live ammunition on villagers protesting against a proposed nuclear power plant; a human rights lawyer opposing the creation of special economic development zones was shot dead in Honduras; and in the United Arab Emirates, an outspoken critic of inhumane treatment of political prisoners was assaulted in the street twice and faced government surveillance.

By: Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, Guest Blogger

At a meeting of cultural workers on February 26, following his landslide reelection victory on February 12, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov announced that the Era of Might and Happiness has officially begun in Turkmenistan. Thus ends the Era of Great Renewal, as the Turkmen leader dubbed the first five years of his reign. That in turn was preceded by the Golden Age of the late president for life, Saparmurat Niyazov. Evidently, no more reform is needed, and the people are supposed to be happy with what they have.

Turkmenistan released Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL) Dovletmyrat Yazkuliyev under “presidential amnesty” after previously sentencing him to five years in jail for “encouraging a relative to commit suicide.” The charges were widely thought to be a sham and in reality brought because of his journalistic activities.

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Special Reports

Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On

“Promise and Reversal: The Post-Soviet Landscape Twenty Years On,” marks the 20th anniversary of the failed Soviet coup of August 19, 1991. The retrospective essay examines the changes in the political rights and civil liberties in the former Soviet Union over the last two decades, as well as includes graphs and rankings that illustrate the region's performance in the annual Freedom House publications Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press. The report  concludes that there is a serious and disturbing failure to embrace democratic institutions in most of the post-Soviet region.

Muzzling the Media: The Return of Censorship in the Commonwealth of Independent States

Only a decade and a half since the end of the Cold War, freedom of the press for millions of people across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has come nearly full circle. The media landscape across most of today’s CIS in some aspects differs from that of the Soviet era, but in important ways is imposing a no less repressive news media environment. Gone is all encompassing ideological state media control. Russia – and most of the countries on its periphery – today features modern methods of information control that effectively shuts off the majority of people in these lands from news and information of political consequence.

Worst of the Worst 2007

Sudan, North Korea and Uzbekistan are prominent among the most repressive regimes in the world, according to a report released by Freedom House.  The study, “The Worst of the Worst: The World's Most Repressive Societies 2007,” named seventeen countries with the worst records for political rights and civil liberties, and pointed to thirteen countries which have been on the list for five years or more.

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