Independent media knocked out of Asian Games in Turkmenistan

first_imgNews #CollateralFreedom: RSF now unblocking 21 sites in 12 countries RSF_en Receive email alerts Organisation Coronavirus off limits in Turkmenistan Follow the news on Turkmenistan There is an enormous gulf between the postcard image promoted by the regime and the reality experienced by those who dare to criticize. Officially, the law proclaims freedom of expression and prohibits censorship, but in practice Turkmenistan is a news and information black hole. The state controls all the media and hounds the few remaining independent journalists, forcing them into hiding, with the result that Turkmenistan is ranked 178th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. The authorities even keep a close control on coverage of sports events, preventing reporters from at least three international media, including Agence France-Presse and the Guardian from entering the country to cover these games. “International spectators should not be fooled by the public relations operation mounted by what is one of the world’s most repressive regimes,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “All the money lavished on the opening ceremony of these games must not eclipse the fact that those who dare to dispute the official line are routinely subjected to threats and torture.” Persecution of the remaining independent journalists has intensified in the past three years, to the point that it also targets the correspondents of media outlets based abroad, such as Alternative Turkmenistan News, Chronicles of Turkmenistan, Gündogar, Ferghana and Radio Azatlyk (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Turkmen service). Soltan Achilova, a journalist who works for Radio Azatlyk, was the target of death threats and an attempted attack in late July. She was previously the victim of three successive physical attacks in November 2016. Two Radio Azatlyk reporters have been jailed on spurious charges. One of them, Saparmamed Nepeskulyev, who has been held since July 2015, was tried secretly without being defended by a lawyer and was given a three-year jail sentence on a trumped-up drug charge. A specialized UN working group has described his imprisonment as arbitrary. The other, Khudayberdy Allashov, was detained along with his mother for more than two months at the start of 2017 on the absurd charge of illegal possession of chewing tobacco. As well as being a full-blown press freedom predator, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov maintains complete control over the “Turkmenet,” a completely expurgated version of the Internet that is the only form of online access available to the Turkmen population. Also known as “Arkadag” (Father Protector), Berdymukhamedov is in the process of filling the last gap in his news and information blockade. On the pretext of giving the cities a face-lift, the authorities have in recent years stepped up the removal of the satellite dishes that allowed the population to access international TV news coverage. Help by sharing this information to go further TurkmenistanEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalistsMedia independence Judicial harassmentPredatorsViolenceImprisoned News News March 31, 2020 Find out more News As Turkmenistan’s dictatorship tries to boost its international image by hosting the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which began in Ashgabat on Sunday, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) points out that the regime persecutes the few remaining outspoken journalists and leaves no room for independent media. TurkmenistanEurope – Central Asia Protecting journalistsMedia independence Judicial harassmentPredatorsViolenceImprisoned Four-year jail term for independent website’s correspondent in Turkmenistan September 19, 2017 Independent media knocked out of Asian Games in Turkmenistan December 18, 2020 Find out more March 13, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Minister lifts ban on three radio stations after four days

first_img RSF requests urgent adoption of moratorium on arrests of journalists January 8, 2021 Find out more Radio reporter gunned on city street in central Somalia RSF and NUSOJ call for release of a journalist held in Somalia’s Puntland region News Reporters Without Borders voiced satisfaction today at the transitional federal government’s decision to allow three privately-owned radio stations – HornAfrik, Shabelle and Quran Kariim (Holy Koran) – to resume broadcasting yesterday, four days after it ordered them to suspend operations. RSF_en February 24, 2021 Find out more June 11, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Minister lifts ban on three radio stations after four days Receive email alerts to go further Help by sharing this information News March 2, 2021 Find out more SomaliaAfrica Follow the news on Somalia Organisation SomaliaAfrica News Reporters Without Borders voiced satisfaction today at the transitional federal government’s decision to allow three privately-owned radio stations – HornAfrik, Shabelle and Quran Kariim (Holy Koran) – to resume broadcasting yesterday, four days after it ordered them to suspend operations.“This decision was to be expected, as the high-handed fashion in which the stations were closed was both abusive and counter-productive,” the press freedom organisation said. “We hope the transitional government will in future use methods other than blind repression to make its grievances known.”Information minister Madobe Nounow Mohamuda yesterday summoned the heads of the three radio stations to inform that they were authorised to resume broadcasts. The move was reportedly the result of pressure from the US government, whose ambassador to Kenya, Michael Ranneberger, interceded with the president to get the suspension lifted.According to local journalists, Ranneberger argued that it could jeopardise the outcome of a national reconciliation conference due to be held in mid-June in Mogadishu. ———07.06.2007 – Government urged to explain closure of three radio stationsReporters Without Borders called on the transitional federal government to publicly explain the closure of three privately-owned radio stations yesterday in Mogadishu for “supporting terrorism” and urged the authorities to take great care with the accusation made against one of the stations, HornAfrik, that it was storing firearms.“The government’s hostility towards these radio stations is well known,” the press freedom organisation said. “Despite warnings, it has so far never managed to initiate a constructive dialogue with them. Closing radio stations, raiding their premises and accusing them of abetting terrorism are very grave actions.”Reporters Without Borders added: “If serious charges are brought against these stations, the authorities must act transparently and fairly, and take account of the safety of the journalists, who could be endangered by these accusations and exposed to the prevailing political violence. If not, the stations must be allowed to resume broadcasting as soon as possible.”Information minister Madobe Nounow Mohamuda wrote to the three stations – HornAfrik, Shabelle and Quran Kariim (Holy Koran) – ordering them to stop broadcasting and accusing them of “fomenting hostility, supporting terrorism, violating press freedom, sowing confusion in the population and mobilising anti-government forces.”He also wrote that the radio station’s owners “are responsible for the above-mentioned actions and must be held accountable,” implying that they could be prosecuted. The three stations stopped broadcasting after receiving his letter yesterday.HornAfrik’s management said the charges were baseless and reflected “the government’s usual tendency to attack press freedom.”Abdifatah Ibrahim Shawey, the deputy governor of the Banadir region and head of political and security matters, was meanwhile quoted by the dayniile.com website as claiming that, during a security operation in Mogadishu, police discovered an “important arsenal of different kinds of weapons” loaded on a Mitsubishi N3 four-wheel-drive vehicle hidden in the radio station’s building.The government has not provided any additional information about the closure of the other two stations, but a raid was carried out this morning on the premises of Shabelle.The three stations have often been the target of hostility from the transitional government, which accuses them of biased coverage and of supporting Somalia’s Islamists. The stations were previously closed for 24 hours in January after broadcasting disputed information about the security situation in Mogadishu. Seven shells hit the premises of HornAfrik, injuring two employees, during fighting in Mogadishu on 21 April. Newslast_img read more