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Satellite Dishes Banned in Turkmenistan

Thursday 23 April 2015

The government of Turkmenistan has banned all satellite dishes, and is in the process of “demolishing” existing satellite installations. The intention is to fully block access to international TV and radio signals coming into the country via satellite.

In an official statement the government is demanding all dishes to be removed from apartments of private properties and has fully “prohibited” their use. The press report states that almost every home in the nation has a dish, legally acquired over the past 20 years of satellite broadcasting.

According to a report in The Times of Central Asia, the decision “is aimed at fully blocking access of the population of Turkmenistan to hundreds of independent international media outlets which are currently accessible in the country only through satellite dishes, including all leading international news channels in different languages. The main target of this campaign is Radio Azatlyq, the Turkmen-language service of Radio Liberty/Free Europe (RFE/RL) It is the only independent source of information about Turkmenistan and the world in the Turkmen language and is widely listened to in the country.”

However, contrary to what is claimed in the above statement, RFE/RL is not independent but funded by the American Government. They were established as an anti-communist news source in 1949 by the National Committee for a Free Europe, as part of a large-scale Psychological Operation during the Cold War. RFE/RL received funds from the CIA until 1972. During the earliest years of Radio Free Europe’s existence, the CIA and the U.S. Department of State issued broad policy directives, and a system evolved where broadcast policy was determined through negotiation among the CIA, the U.S. State Department, and RFE staff.

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