One of the foremost journalists from Tajikistan, he has fearlessly sought to get the news out on his native country, where violence and state authoritarianism have been the norm for years. The 46-year-old is the publisher of Charogi Ruz
("Day Light"), an independent newspaper that he founded in 1991 and which has published countless articles exposing the government for corruption and accusing President Imomali Rahmonov of terrorism and drug-dealing. Harassment of Charogi Ruz
staff, as well as the hounding of its readership, was constant. In 1992, the paper's offices were broken into. Following that incident, Atovulloev fled to Moscow where he continued to publish Charogi Ruz
in exile. However, the threats against the journalist did not stop. Informed of an assassination plot against him by Tajik authorities earlier this year, Atovulloev and his family fled to Germany in May. In July of 2001, Atovulloev was detained in Moscow as he was on his way for a family visit in Uzbekistan. The Tajik government wanted to extradite the journalist to face charges of insulting the president and inciting to overthrow the government - both punishable by death under Tajik laws. Under international pressure, Moscow relented, and Atovulloev was allowed to return to Germany.
International Press Freedom Award