Turkmenistan | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Not Free

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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Media outlets in Turkmenistan continued to operate in one of the world's most repressive environments in 2003. Freedom of the press declined from an already dismal state following the assassination attempt on President Saparmurat Niyazov in November 2002. The government flagrantly continued to disregard the guarantees of freedom of expression and access to information found in Turkmenistan's constitution. The government censors all sources of domestic media, controls all access to printing, and uses the mass media purely as a mechanism to promote the personality cult of President Niyazov and to attack his opponents. While all journalists working in Turkmenistan are under the constant threat of violence or prison for not toeing the government line, increased attempts were made in 2003 to crack down on Turkmen reporters working outside the country for foreign media outlets. Two separate incidents of attacks on Turkmen journalists working for Radio Liberty took place in Moscow in July and September. Another RFE/RL reporter was abducted, beaten, and threatened with death in November. Access to foreign news sources remains extremely limited, as does access to the Internet.