Turkmenistan bans satellite TV dishes for being "eyesore"

Turkmenistan Materials 18 August 2011 16:39 (UTC +04:00)

The authoritarian Central Asian state of Turkmenistan on Thursday banned satellite television dishes, arguing that they are an eyesore, state media reported.

President Gurbanduly Berdymukhameddov instructed a subordinate to remove the dishes from apartment buildings across the desert nation because they "damage the architectural beauty and appearance of these buildings."

Television services could be better provided by cable, Berdymukhammedov said during a broadcast on the state-controlled television network, DPA reported.

Turkmenistan's government is one of the world's most repressive. Public dissent and political opposition to the Berdymukhammedov regime are effectively banned.

Satellite dishes equipped with illegal decoders are widely popular in the country, whose news and entertainment media is almost entirely state-controlled.

Apartment owners in Turkmenistan have generally ignored past government efforts to crack down on satellite television access.

Apartment buildings roofs covered in dense forests of satellite receivers are a common sight in the capital Ashgabad.