• Population: 4,794,000
  • Internet users: 8,000 (2002)
  • Average charge for 20 hours of connection: not available
  • DAI*: not available
  • Situation**: very serious

No independent press is tolerated by President Separmurad Nyazov, a megalomaniac autocrat who uses Stalinist methods. As the Internet is hard to control, the authorities have opted for a radical solution: permit the population almost no online access.

The citizens of Turkmenistan are not allowed to connect to the Internet from home and there are no cybercafés. Internet connections are only to be found in some companies and in international organisations. This explains the extremely low number of Internet users.

What's more, when Turkmen succeed in going online, they are connected to a censored Web. It is not hard for the authorities to block access to bothersome content. They just provide a list of banned websites to Turkmen Telecom, the state-owned operator which monopolises Internet access.

The following are just a few of the news media, opposition movements and and human rights organisations whose websites are blocked in Turkmenistan: Komsomolskaya Pravda, Vremya Novostei, Yevraziya, Tsentraziya, Deutsche Welle, Erkin Turkmenistan and Gundogar.

Links

* The DAI (Digital Access Index) has been devised by the International Telecommunications Union to measure the access of a country's inhabitants to information and communication technology. It ranges from 0 (none at all) to 1 (complete access).

** Assessment of the situation in each country (good, middling, difficult, serious) is based on murders, imprisonment or harassment of cyber-dissidents or journalists, censorship of news sites, existence of independent news sites, existence of independent ISPs and deliberately high connection charges.

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