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YouTube channel Watan Habarlary blocks videos of independent Turkmen resources

YouTube channel Watan Habarlary blocks videos of independent Turkmen resources

YouTube channel Watan Habarlary, owned, as follows from its description, by the State Committee of Turkmenistan for Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography, has begun blocking the content of independent Turkmen resources that use official footage from Turkmen television in their work.

On May 18, the channel filed a complaint against an old turkmen.news video about the country's president riding an electric bike. The video has been removed, our channel has received a warning, but we appeal against this decision, since state television is funded from the budget, which means it is supported by taxpayers.

According to Article 7 of the Law of Turkmenistan «On Copyright and Related Rights», «messages about events and facts of informational nature» are not objects of copyright.

Article 19 of the same law allows «the use of short excerpts from lawfully published works as illustrations in printed publications, radio and television broadcasts, sound and video recordings of an educational nature to the extent justified by the goal». It is also permitted to «reproduce in periodicals, broadcast or cable broadcast to the public of lawfully published articles in newspapers and magazines on current economic, political, social and religious issues or broadcast works of a similar nature in cases where such reproduction, the broadcast or cable broadcast has not been specifically prohibited by the author or other copyright holder».

The only condition - is an indication of the source of borrowing. Turkmen.news leaves the logo of the state TV channel intact and does not try to pass off these footage as its own footage. There is also no ban on reproduction of Turkmen television programs in the credits. Thus, our videos fully comply with the rules prescribed in article 19.

It is also worth noting the social significance of our work. Turkmen.news is an officially registered non-profit organization. We copy excerpts from TV spots not to sell content, but to inform citizens about events in the country and illustrate socially significant information - the expensive leisure time of the President of Turkmenistan, the conflict of interests at the highest level, the plight of the country's inhabitants.

Any journalistic activity that goes beyond the official agenda is completely prohibited in Turkmenistan. Independent journalists cannot attend official events together with employees of the state television, conduct their own filming and comment on events. People who send us amateur photos or videos risk their freedom. Copying excerpts from video recordings of state television is the only way for independent media, whose editorial offices are forced to stay abroad, to receive at least some illustrations from events taking place in Turkmenistan.

The Watan Habarlary channel, by law, has no right to require YouTube to remove videos that use footage from a Turkmen television news broadcast.

Currently, according to complaints from Watan Habarlary, the popular channel «Chronicles of Turkmenistan» of the website of the same name, as well as «Urgent News of Turkmenistan», another channel popular with residents within the country, is completely blocked.

On May 13, turkmen.news, together with partners from Gundogar and the Organized Crime and Corruption Research Center (OCCRP), released an investigation into Khajimurad Rejepov, the nephew of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. In 2016, by presidential decree, Khajimurad's British firm received a $26 million contract to supply food to the country. After that, the nephew built a mansion for himself in a new residential complex in Ashgabat - in the Gazha district. The house has marble walls, expensive Italian furniture and accessories cast in bronze.

Along with the textual investigation, turkmen.news also released a video, which was blocked by YouTube the next day following a complaint from Nama Design, the design firm that decorated and furnished the Khajimurad's mansion. The video used footage from the design firm. Currently, turkmen.news is also challenging this decision by YouTube.

There is no doubt that the independent YouTube channels listed above are a major annoyance to the Turkmen authorities. Despite the fact that YouTube is blocked inside the country, information from abroad still reaches citizens, and the authorities go out of their way, looking for different ways and opportunities to drown out the voice of the independent press. One of the methods that the authorities resort to is claims of infringement of their alleged copyrights. But in reality, they care about something else - their own image.

https://turkmen.news/news/silencing-independent-voices/

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