Internet in Central Asia

INTERNET CAFES OPEN IN TURKMENISTAN: Two Internet cafes have opened in Ashgabat, reported on February 16, 2007. Fifteen more such cafes will soon appear in the capital, with more to come in other parts of Turkmenistan. Greater access to the Internet featured among President Berdymukhammedov’s campaign promises in the February 11 presidential election (see “RFE/RL Newsline,” January 5, 2007). Despite the apparent easing of restrictions on the Internet, Deutsche Welle reported on February 19, citing an unidentified source in Turkmenistan’s National Security Ministry, that Chinese specialists will assist the Turkmen security services in controlling the Internet to ensure that Turkmen citizens cannot access pornography, opposition websites, and media critical of Turkmen authorities, Febr 20, 2007. (DK / full text).

Same on Institute for war and peace reporting, Febr, 19. 2007. (full text).

Internet Governance in Central Asia: The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), held under the initiative of the United Nations, recognizes the importance of Internet and its role as a key infrastructure element for building information society. At the same time, it was announced the necessity to consolidate all countries’ positions on improvement of mechanisms for Internet governance and policy development related to global Internet.

Internet governance is the development of agreements about standards, policies, rules, and enforcement and dispute resolution procedures on issues related to the Internet, through a democratic, multilateral and transparent process with the full involvement of governments, the private sector and civil society. The importance of sustainable functioning and effective use of the Internet is incontestable for the Central Asian countries. Along with promoting knowledge exchange, economic, political and social spheres development, it also joins communities and facilitates integration. Therefore, the Central Asian countries need to address the issues of effective Internet governance, Febr. 20, 2007. (full text).

CENTRAL ASIA: INTERNET FILLS VOID LEFT BY MEDIA ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: From the RFE/RL Central Asia Report Vol. 6, No. 8, 10 March 2006: CENTRAL ASIA: INTERNET FILLS VOID LEFT BY MEDIA ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ISSUES While the degree of media freedom varies considerably among the five countries of Central Asia, there appears to be a region-wide aversion to the thorny issue of religious freedom. It is difficult to gauge whether the reasons might lie in a reluctance to confront controversy — as some argue — or in state-imposed strictures or even a fear of offending. The result is that, aside from cursory references to the dominant religions, the domestic media have generally shied away from questions of faith, Oct. 03, 2006. (full text).

Basic facts about Central Asia, Internet searching tools, Oct. 15, 2005. (full text).

Media freedom on the Internet in Central Asian countries threatened, says OSCE Representative, June 20, 2005. (full text).

Think Partnership Launches new Web Site in Chinese and English for Asia-Pacific Expansion, Febr. 6, 2007. (full text).

Net links to be restored in February, Jan./Feb.2007. (full text).

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