Turkmenistan: YouTube and LiveJournal are blocked
Turkmentelecom, the only Internet-provider in Turkmenistan, updated and expanded the list of websites, blocked for local users. From now on, the ordinary Turkmen web users are not able to visit Youtube. In the last 6 months it was hard but still possible to visit this popular resource. Another famous LiveJournal service for bloggers was also blocked.
Besides websites, unwanted by the government, Turkmentelecom also blocked some Internet connection channels; therefore, some foreign companies, owning corporate networks, cannot access them.
Moreover, according to Ferghana.Ru, many private users, owning web resources (websites, email and other), hosted outside the republic, have troubles accessing them.
In the opinion of experts of our news agency, there is another attempt to limit the public access to alternative information in Turkmenistan and eliminate the opportunity to email via private connection, offered by the number of email servers. Turkmen government and special services want to prevent the dissemination of journalist materials, designated for dissident or opposition website and independent media.
However, if Turkmen authorities want to limit information outflow from the republic via Internet, sooner or later they will have to shut down the access. Such popular services as mail.ru google and others offer highly secured HTTPS protected network connection.
These actions by Turkmen government finally convinced the citizens and international observers that the regime is not expected to be liberated in concern with the death of Turkmenbashi and statements of new president. During the election campaign of 2007 Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov noted that "Internet and new communication technologies must be accessible to every citizen".
In 2000 all rights for Internet and email service provision in Turkmenistan were transferred to state-owned Turkmentelecom and free access was eliminated. Up until now, the major subscribers for web services are governmental organizations and state companies while public access to Internet is limited.
It has to be mentioned that Western pressure on Turkmen government was insignificant in the last years despite human rights and freedom of speech situation has not changed. This is indirectly confirmed by recent statement of the President on importance of Ruhnama for the youth.
Filtering alternative information flow proves no liberalization of Internet in Turkmenistan. In the future, it is expected that the situation will continue to deteriorate.
NOTE FROM FERGHANA.RU Official prohibition of certain internet resources is widely applied in authoritarian republic of Central Asia. The most active campaign on limiting freedom in Internet and political dissent is conducted by Uzbekistan. It blocked few hundred independent or opposition resources and web pages, criticizing the policies of Uzbek government or reporting real situation in the republic. The censorship of Internet is present in Kazakhstan and China. Nonetheless, Internet access is less developed in Turkmenistan than in any other countries of the region while the filtering and censorship are the most restrictive there.