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ASHGABAT (TCA) — Newspapers in Turkmenistan yesterday published the text of the country’s new Internet law, entitled “On legal regulation of the Internet development and provision of Internet services in Turkmenistan”.  

The new law introduces Internet users’ responsibility for sending information containing state secrets or information whose distribution is restricted or prohibited by Turkmen laws. The law says that it is now illegal for citizens of the country to insult or slander the country's president in postings on the web, as well as to call on violent change of the constitutional system, propagate war, violence, racial, ethnic and religious enmity.

The new law states that it is intended to ensure free access to the worldwide web for the country's Internet users. The law also specifies restrictions on accessing information that contains material encouraging minors to use narcotics, alcohol, tobacco products or view sites that reject family values, propagate disrespect for parents or justify illegal behavior.

The law also bans Turkmenistan's Internet users from accessing pornographic sites.

Few in Turkmenistan have access to the Internet in their homes, RFE/RL reports.

The Communications Ministry is the country's only Internet provider and while there are some Internet cafes that have opened up since President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov took office in early 2007 they remain prohibitively expensive for most citizens.

Internet cafe users also must provide ID to use computers and their activity online is monitored.

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