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A Bleak Outlook: Press Freedom in Central Asia

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When it came to press freedoms, the first quarter-century of post-Soviet independence in Central Asia was, by certain metrics, even worse than the USSR’s waning days. Journalists harassed, kidnapped, and murdered. State capture of both television and print outlets. Laws passed that effectively silenced opposition members and non-state press alike, allowing regimes in Astana, Dushanbe, Tashkent, and Ashgabat to survive.

But if the latest round of numbers from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is any indication, the next quarter-century of an independent Central Asia is off to an even gloomier start than the region saw in 1991.

With the release of RSF’s 2017 Press Freedom Index, observers can not only check in on the region’s progress – or........

© The Diplomat