Turkmen women are actively trying to practice gender equality. But the government does not give them this right. They report on the number of women in the leadership, in the media, misleading us all, because the official figures are ordinary - ostentatious well-being, hiding the unseemly state of affairs. These women are extras and have no voting rights.
Our pride is the Turkmen journalist and human rights activist Soltan Achilova, who recently became one of the finalists for the Martin Ennals International Prize. However, this has become possible not because the Turkmen authorities welcome freedom of the media, but in spite of it.
Everyone present here knows that for many years Turkmenistan has been in the same company with North Korea and Eritrea due to lack of freedom of the media!
At the beginning of the year, Turkmenistan was finally supposed to respond to the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee on Ogulsapar Muradova, a brave woman who opposed the Turkmen regime and paid for it with her life. Ashgabat criminally kept silent, thus the Berdimuhamedov regime assumed full responsibility for the death of the journalist and human rights activist.
What does it mean? That the regime, despite the assurances of Turkmen officials from high tribunes, does not intend to give freedom to the media.
It is precisely because of this position that absolutely absurd things happen in the country: the correspondent of the independent publication turkmen.news, Nurgeldy Khalykov, was sentenced to four years in prison just because last summer he simply sent a photograph of the WHO Mission, which visited Turkmenistan to assess the situation on COVID-19 . The WHO mission travels to all countries, it is shown in all the media ... What is criminal in this? Nothing. But the guy is in the prison.
Last year, Turkmenistan ranked last in «Reporters Without Borders» Freedom of the Press ranking of 180 countries, displacing North Korea. The authorities prohibit citizens from getting news through Internet applications. YouTube is banned in the country. In general, in terms of the level of Internet use, Turkmenistan is at the very tail of these countries, only the lazy one did not say this. This is the situation in Turkmenistan itself.
But even abroad, everyone who uses YouTube is severely persecuted, bloggers and those who dare to speak on Azatlyk radio are persecuted.
Activists who have recently spoken out without hiding their faces say that they and their relatives are threatened precisely because they are trying to exercise the right to freedom of speech, opinion, and the media.
Let's not turn a blind eye to this, dear participants, let's not just state the facts, but work together to solve the problem. And we invite the representatives of Turkmenistan present here to come to their senses and think: by your actions you harm the activists not mentioned above. First of all, you harm yourself, your loved ones and children. They already lag behind similar citizens in other countries for decades in terms of education, communication skills, civic consciousness, if only because they do not have full access to the Internet, not to mention other opportunities and rights.
Thank you for attention.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights