Reporting From Central Asia -- A Hard Job And Getting Harder

by © RFE/RL Majlis Podcast, 20.11.2016

For the first time I joined the discussion of the weekly Majlis Podcast by RFE/RL on the difficulties of reporting from Central Asia.

It’s never been easy being a journalist in Central Asia. Quite the opposite, in fact. Reporting from Central Asia can lead to dire consequences: assaults, arrests, imprisonment, and, on occasion, even death. That has been generally true for 25 years, but recently it has become even worse. How much worse was the subject of the latest Majlis podcast organized by RFE/RL.

Moderating from Washington was RFE/RL Media Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir. From Almaty, German freelance correspondent Edda Schlager joined the discussion. She’s been working in Central Asia for more than a decade and had quite a story to tell. Our friend Steve Swerdlow, Central Asian researcher for Human Rights Watch, participated from the United States. I’ve not only been following events with journalists in Central Asia for some years, I’ve had firsthand experience with being on site trying to cover the region, so I had a few things to say also.

The Majlis opened with Schlager recalling her recent experience in Uzbekistan. Schlager was in Uzbekistan at the start of November to cover, as she said, “the atmosphere of the country” ahead of the December 4 presidential election, the first such election since the death of Uzbekistan’s only president, Islam Karimov, a couple of months ago.

Schlager was detained on November 10, about one week after she arrived in Uzbekistan. She said four men came to the hotel where she was staying at around 7 a.m. one morning. “First, I was called by the receptionist to come out because the authorities were there to check my documents,” Schlager recalled.

Read the full article on RFE/RL’s website.