Nearly every morning, a postman delivers fresh newspapers to Arslan's house in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat. It has been like this for years -- like it or not.
This is because, as a public-sector employee, Arslan is required to subscribe to state publications, with the fees deducted from his wages.
Arslan, however, barely ever reads the newspapers.
"They all are identical," says the 34-year-old teacher. "They all write about the president. Hardly anything in our newspapers is worth reading."
Indeed, most newspapers and magazines in Turkmenistan dedicate their front pages or covers to President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov's meetings, speeches, and trips. The reports are illustrated with colorful photographs featuring the president.
Even articles in medical workers' publications or women's magazines are full of praise and compliments for Berdymukhamedov. Criticism of the president and his policies is virtually unheard of.
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