In 1997, there were some 363,000 main telephone lines in use, with an additional 4,300 cellular phones in use by 1998. Telephone links to other former Soviet republics and Iran are provided by land link or microwave and to other countries through Moscow.
Turkmen Radio in Ashgabat broadcasts transmissions from Moscow, as does Turkmen Television, which also receives Turkish television broadcasts. All broadcasts are controlled by the government. As of 1999 there was one radio station and three television stations. Many programs can be received from Russia and Turkey. Orbita and INTELSAT are received by satellite earth stations. In 2000, there were 256 radio sets and 198 television sets per 1,000 population. Turkmenistan has its own movie studio, Tukmenfilm. In 2000 there were 2,000 Internet subscribers, with access only available through the governmentowned Turkmen Telecom.
There were two daily newspapers in 1995: Turkmenistan (circulation 73,170) and Turmenskaya Iskra (in Russian, 40,000). There are also a number of periodicals, mostly in Ashgabat.
The constitution provides for free expression, but in practice the government is said to severely limit press rights. The government owns and directly controls all radio, television, and print media, and is said to rarely allow criticism or opposition opinion in even the mildest forms.