Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Turkmen Internet Crackdown

Remember that outbreak of web-based citizen journalism following the explosions at Abadan in Turkmenistan? The government is pursuing the "culprints":
"After web users in Turkmenistan broke news of a major fire to the outside world, the country’s intelligence and police services have reacted by trying to hunt down those who dared to make their voices heard...

"A police officer said checks were being run on everyone with a mobile phone subscription and web access through the national provider company Altyn Asyr...

"Aware of the risks, Abadan residents began deleting any data on their phones that might get them into trouble.

"Seitnazar, who has two teenage children, said plainclothes officers had visited neighbours and confiscated phones and cameras from young people in each household...

"Freelance journalist Dovletmyrat Yazgulyev, who posted pictures and reports of the fire on his blog on the website of the Turkmen service of RFE/RL, was summoned by the regional police department for organised crime a week later.

"'I was given an official warning and told that if I did anything similar again, I would be prosecuted under articles 132 and 177 of the criminal code – for “dissemination of defamatory information in the media”, and “incitement on social, religious or ethnic grounds’, respectively – and sent to prison for five years,' Yazgulyev said in an interview for RFE/RL."



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