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VOA Launches "Journalism in the Crosshairs," with Reporter Fatima Tlisova

VOA's Journalism in the Crosshairs
VOA's Journalism in the Crosshairs

The Russian language program provides a digital platform for reporters from the former Soviet Union who are often beaten, threatened, or killed as a result of their work.

Award-winning investigative journalist Fatima Tlisova, who writes extensively about Russia, Islam and the Caucasus, has teamed up with Voice of America on a multi-media project aimed at telling the difficult stories that reporters are often punished for pursuing.

More than a blog, the Russian language project, titled Journalism in the Crosshairs (Pressa pod Pressom), is curated by Tlisova, and provides a digital media platform for reporters from the former Soviet Union and Central Asia, who are often beaten, threatened, or killed as a result of their work.

In Thursday’s inaugural issue on VOA’s all-digital Russian Service (click here), Tlisova speaks on-camera with famed Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner, who discusses the state of the news media in Russia, where he says journalists often find it necessary to censor themselves.

In addition to taking advantage of Tlisova’s extensive journalistic contacts, Journalism in the Crosshairs uses social media and crowdsourcing platforms to allow grassroots users to report on issues not covered by the mainstream media in the region. The site will also post video, audio or text from “journalistic refugees” about their experiences in other media environments, including Europe and in the United States.

VOA Director Danforth W. Austin says the program “gives a platform to those who are often intimidated or blocked from discussing critical issues because of censorship.” Austin called the new program, “another example of how social media platforms are empowering people who live in restrictive media environments.”

Tlisova, who spent years reporting on human rights abuses in the North Caucasus, was Editor in Chief of the Regnum News Agency, worked as a special correspondent for Novaya Gazeta, and reported for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and for the Associated Press. Her many awards include the Lyons award for Conscious and Integrity in Journalism from the Nieman Foundation, the German Zeit-Stiftun Award for commitment to reporting in Chechnya, the Human Rights Watch award for journalism, the Amnesty International Media Award for best magazine article, and an AP award for best report on a hostage situation.

Find the new VOA Russian language feature at Also visit VOA’s Russian language website at For news in English visit our main website at