An authoritative Central Asia-focused news website has defeated attempts to silence it in Kyrgyzstan: authorities have unblocked it. Yet under the prevailing interpretation of a parliamentary resolution, the website, Fergana News, still appears to be banned in the Central Asian nation.
Amid a lingering climate of fear hanging over southern Kyrgyzstan, journalists there are embracing a Soviet-style survival tactic: rather than run the risk of reprisals for writing freely, they are self-censoring and reporting only on what are considered safe topics.
When his United National Movement lost control over Georgia’s parliament in early October, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili also lost the remote control for the country’s national television broadcasters. In a country that watches TV round-the-clock, that means drastic changes in news coverage.
In a country with no daily newspapers and soft-hitting state media outlets, the Internet is where an increasing number of curious Tajikistanis go for news and information. That’s apparently got officials worried.
It’s no secret that the Caucasus and Central Asia are inhospitable places for free speech and independent journalism. But a recent survey by IREX, an international organization that promotes civil society, found even countries that experienced so-called “color” revolutions have been unable to produce lasting, positive changes in their respective media environments.
After retaining control of parliament with nearly 50 percent of the vote, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party remains fixated on introducing a compulsory Internet filtering system later this summer, even in the face of mounting criticism.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake visited Uzbekistan November 9-10, 2010, his third trip since assuming his current position. Little information was provided from the U.S.