Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) Relaunches as

    Dear readers, the end of February marks our ninth anniversary. We began in 2010 by taking news from websites that published independent information on Turkmenistan and sending it out to e-mail addresses. Those Internet resources are blocked inside the country, so our fellow citizens had no opportunity to keep abreast of events and to compare expert opinions and draw their own conclusions.

    That was when we decided to plug the gap. We began to copy news into ordinary Word files (though we later progressed to PDF files) and several times a week to send out the files to recipients within the country. There were no more than three hundred people in the early days.

    Around a year later the number of subscribers had increased tenfold, and our mailing began to resemble a newspaper. People started to share their opinions, factual information and observations, and to send photographs. We started to create our own news and to publish it on the sites from which we used to take information, and also to place it on our Facebook page.

    In summer 2014 Alternative Turkmenistan News launched its own website

    Over time the quantity (and quality!) of information we received had allowed ATN to launch its own website, which quickly gained popularity among readers in Turkmenistan and abroad.

    With the advent of groups on social networks, VPN servers and the function to subscribe to the site – very easy to use by the way – we stopped sending out our news individually.

    Since 2014 ATN has been a fully fledged news and human rights organization. During this time we have brought to the readership hundreds of topical news stories on a wide range of subjects: politics and economics, education and health care, culture and the arts. We see as our specialist subjects oil and gas, corruption, border security and the whole social sphere – urban and rural life, problems with the provision of drinking water, the state of the roads and migration. Our films and short clips about the situation in the country receive hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of comments.

    Over these years we have published dozens of items concerning human rights: on the situation in prisons and rights of convicts, on freedom of movement, religion and expression, and on the use of forced labor, including child labor, in the cotton harvest. We speak openly at UN and OSCE forums, and hold briefings for international human rights organizations, business associations and governments. Many foreign partners publish their briefings and reports on the basis of ATN material, calling the authorities of Turkmenistan to account.

    Time for an ATN revamp

    We hope you will like our new site. The news has been divided into categories and for ease of use the banner header has links to the sections Human Rights, Spotlight – these are our longer feature stories, Opinion and Announcements. The site now has a full version in English. Use it. Share the material on social networks and messaging apps. With the help of our sources inside the country, our reporters and ordinary people who cannot stand by, we will continue to raise critical subjects of concern to society and bring them to the attention of the authorities.

    Our goal remains the same: we seek to help the country and to make the lives of ordinary people at least a little better. Do join us!

    The team