Turkmenistan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Turkmenistan's media are among the most tightly controlled in the world. Article 26 of the constitution provides for freedom of expression and access to information, but the authoritarian regime of President Saparmurat Niyazov flagrantly disregards these rights in practice. In general, the regime has attempted to quarantine the nation from outside information and uses the domestic mass media to advance the swelling cult of personality surrounding the president. The state exercises censorship over all print and electronic outlets. Access to foreign newspapers is severely restricted. Internet access is prohibitively expensive and subject to state control. In 2002, the government banned cable television and rooftop satellite dishes. The U.S.-funded Radio Liberty and the Russian Mayak radio station are some of the few alternative sources of news. Independent journalists are frequently beaten and harassed.