What I liked about the Department of State’s report is that a friend of mine and a collegue Fatima Tlisova of Kabardin-Balkaria was mentioned on two separate occasions in it. I am happy that at least her disturbing experience was not concealed, but made it into the official document.
“<…>Between 2002 and 2006, Fatima Tlisova, an independent journalist in the North Caucasus who had written for Novaya Gazeta, Regnum News Agency, and the Associated Press, was reportedly subjected to numerous incidents of abuse and harassment related to her work. She covered human rights abuses in the troubled North Caucasus regions, including the conflict in the North Caucasus, abusive practices of the military in Chechnya, official corruption, and she criticized official policy towards human rights. In 2005 she was allegedly abducted by local FSB officers who beat her and extinguished cigarettes on her fingers. In October 2006, after speaking at an international forum about the dangers to press freedom in the North Caucasus, she alleged that intruders broke into her home and put poison in her food; after the intrusion, she suffered kidney failure which she feared was attributed to poisoning.<…>
<…>The federal Ministry of Internal Affairs continued to control media access to the area of the Chechen conflict. Foreign journalists are required to have government accreditation to enter Chechnya, but even those with proper documents are sometimes refused access. During 2006 several Russian and foreign journalists were detained while on assignment in the North Caucasus region, but there were no known detentions of reporters in Chechnya during the year. In September 2006 police detained British reporters with the CMI independent news agency and Fatima Tlisova, editor-in-chief of the Regnum news agency’s North Caucasian branch, in the city of Nalchik. The British journalists intended to interview Tlisova but were detained for the entire day and prevented from doing so. The reason given for the detention was that the reporters had strayed into an off-limits area.<…>