The repressive central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, where the likes of Facebook and Whatsapp are banned, on 14 January 2019 launched its first messaging app. The privately developed BizBarde app will “allow the exchange of messagers, files, photos and videos,” the state Yaslyk television station said.
The service was tested for several months before its Monday launch and some 5,000 people have already downloaded the app, Beknazarov added. The application is available via the Google Android platform as well as Apple’s iOS and Microsoft Windows.
One of the world’s most isolated regimes, the ex-Soviet republic has blocked Western services including Twitter and Viber, along with popular Russian networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte. The country sits on the world’s fourth-largest reserves of natural gas and regularly finds itself at the bottom of global rights and press freedom rankings.
Only officially sanctioned media are allowed to operate and internet access is provided solely by the state-owned TurkmenTelecom.