Uzbek author and journalist Hamid Ismailov has been named the new Central Asia Director of US government-funded media outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
“This region is very difficult [to cover] but Hamid’s great journalistic and regional experience will bring a strategic direction to our work and support to our colleagues, so that we continue to provide excellent journalism to our Central Asian audiences,” said RFE/RL’s President and CEO Jamie Fly.
Born in Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan, Ismailov was forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992, for what the state then described as “unacceptable democratic tendencies”. He then settled in the UK, covering Europe and Central Asia for the BBC World Service for 25 years.
Based in Prague, Ismailov will be in charge of five teams in Central Asia, including Radio Ozodi in Tajikistan, Radio Azattyk in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and Radio Ozodlik in Uzbekistan.
In addition to his work as a journalist, Ismailov is a prolific, award-winning novelist and poet, whose works have been translated into several languages, despite being banned in Uzbekistan. His latest novel, Of Strangers and Bees, was published in English in 2019.