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Kazakh Journalist, Free-Speech Campaigner Rozlana Taukina Dead At 60


Human rights activist and journalist Rozlana Taukina (1959-2019)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Rozlana Taukina, a prominent journalist and advocate of media freedom in tightly controlled Kazakhstan, has died at the age of 60.

Relatives and colleagues told RFE/RL that Taukina, one of Kazakhstan's most prominent journalists, died on May 26 of an unspecified disease.

Throughout her career, Taukina "helped many repressed journalists and told the world of [Kazakhstan's] press freedom record," Muzaffar Suleymanov, a program officer at the Stockholm-based group Civil Rights Defenders, wrote on Twitter. "She was a true champion and her death is a huge loss."

Born in Oral in northwestern Kazakhstan in 1959, Taukina graduated from a teacher-training institute in her native city and later earned a journalism degree at Moscow State University.

In 1990, Taukina worked as the chief editor of one of the first independent radio stations in Kazakhstan, Radio Maximum.

Almost immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Taukina founded the independent Television and Radio Corporation Totem and led it until 1997.

From 2001 to 2017, Taukina led the nongovernmental organization Journalists in Trouble, a vocal advocate for journalists' rights and freedom of the press.

In 2014, Taukina created a group called the Federation of Journalists with Equal Rights, an organization associated with the International Federation of Journalists, which she led until her death.

Her career included stints as chairwoman of the Central Asian Independent Media Association and as a correspondent for independent newspapers SolDat, Aina-Plus, and Zhuma-Times.

She also served as editor in chief of the weekly Public Position and contributed to the Associated Press and the Institute of War and Peace Reporting.

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