In recognition of World Press Freedom Day (May 3rd), President Obama invited three immigrant journalists to the White House to honor them for their work in the service of truth.
One of the three was VOA Russian Service reporter Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia.
In his remarks at the White House ceremony, President Obama said of Tlisova: “She reported on military operations in the North Caucasus region, as well as disappearances and corruption. She was attacked, kidnapped, tortured herself. Today, she reports for the Voice of America, and most recently has spent time reporting on the Boston trials related to the Boston bombing. So we very much appreciate Fatima being here.”
Tlisova described her meeting with the president as a “moving experience.” His message, she said, “was that free voices matter… that criticizing the president, criticizing the government is not an act of treason. It is an act of patriotism, it helps every government, every president to improve their performance.”
“We are very proud of Fatima,” said Elez Biberaj, director of VOA’s Eurasia Division. “Her dedication to the high standards of objective and accurate journalism and her unwavering commitment to the dissemination of truth have earned her and VOA’s Russian Service the faith and trust of our Russian-speaking audiences throughout the world.”
President Obama also sent a signed message to Tlisova’s parents telling them “your daughter is very courageous!”