“As a journalist I aim to tell the truth of what is going on in Russia and particularly in my region, the North Caucasus. Also, I aim to create unique content about topics not widely covered by the mainstream media in the region. That’s why I wrote the article ‘Kavkazskii Samizdat’ [‘Caucasus Self-Publishing,’ about amateur music recording in the Caucasus]. For me it was an amazing subject—like a mirror reflecting what the youth is thinking. There are many challenges to covering the North Caucasus. First, there is no access to official government documents for independent journalists. Another challenge is that people in Russia don’t like to talk about press freedom, which is the topic of my blog, ‘Pressa pod Pressom’ (‘Press Under Pressure’). You can hear people talking about it at conferences or in organizations that specifically deal with press freedom, but ordinary journalists don’t like to talk about it.”
Fatima Tlisova is a freelancer with the VOA Russian Service, where she covers Russia’s restive North Caucasus region and topics including Islamic radicalism, corruption, and racism. She also writes the blog “Pressa pod pressom” (“Press Under Pressure”) about press freedom in Russia. Before coming to Voice of America a year ago, she had been editor-in-chief of the REGNUM News Agency in the North Caucasus, a special correspondent for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, and a reporter for the Associated Press and for VOA’s sister broadcaster, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She has won several international awards, including the Rory Peck Freelancer’s Choice Award for “continuous bravery, commitment to the story and efforts to help fellow journalists,” and the Human Rights Watch award for journalism and advocacy. She is an ethnic Circassian from Russia’s Karachay-Cherkess Republic, but spent much of her professional career in the neighboring Kabardino-Balkar Republic.