The Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM), Teresa Ribeiro, concluded her visit to Turkmenistan yesterday.
During her visit, Ribeiro held meetings with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev, Chairperson of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan Dünyägözel Gulmanova, Chairman of the State Committee for Television, Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography of Turkmenistan Arslan Ashyrov, and Ombudsperson of Turkmenistan Yazdursun Gurbannazarova.
Ribeiro discussed numerous challenges to media freedom in the country with her counterparts. She specifically highlighted restrictions on the free flow of information, both online and offline, along with limited access to information in the country. She urged the authorities to uphold the relevant commitments of the OSCE regarding freedom of expression and media freedom.
“In today’s interdependent world, freedom of the media is only achievable by ensuring equal access to the online information ecosystem,“ Ribeiro said. She noted that full and unrestricted access to the internet forms a crucial part of media pluralism in the country, which is indispensable for a secure and democratic society.
Further discussions addressed challenges in media legislation, the important role of independent public service media, specific concerns related to the safety of journalists in Turkmenistan, and possible co-operation between the RFoM and the authorities to strengthen a safe environment for media workers.
“I appreciate Turkmenistan’s commitment to multilateralism and to the OSCE in particular in its wish for peace and security. I would like to highlight the importance of free and independent media as a tool in achieving this goal,” Representative Ribeiro said.
The Representative stressed the need for enhanced dialogue and offered her assistance to work jointly with authorities and other local and international partners to advance media freedom in Turkmenistan.