Nadira Isayeva, Russia

2010 CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee

CPJ/Rodney Lamkey Jr.Isayeva, 31, has incurred the wrath of security services in Russia's volatile North Caucasus for her relentless reporting on their handling of violence and militant Islam in the region. As editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Chernovik (Rough Draft) in the southern republic of Dagestan, she has criticized as counter-productive the heavy-handed tactics of state agencies charged with fighting terrorism. In 2008, authorities brought a criminal case against her under anti-extremist legislation after she published an interview with a former guerrilla leader, who accused local authorities of corruption and of being in thrall to the Kremlin. Isayeva sees the case as retaliation for Chernovik's work. If convicted, she faces up to eight years in prison. She and the newspaper are regularly harassed with official summonses, financial audits, and state-commissioned "linguistic analyses" that label content as extremist. Investigators have searched Isayeva's home, seizing a computer, books, and files. A local prosecutor has sent her notice that she must undergo a psychological examination. Since June 2009, the main state media regulator has been trying to close the paper for "hostile attitudes toward law enforcement officers and other extremist statements."


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