Reporters on the Job
• Commuter Profiling : Correspondent Fred Weir lives about 20 kilometers from central Moscow, and frequently takes the commuter train to and from downtown, a journey of about half an hour. On a typical ride two sets of authorities sweep through the train – conductors checking for people who've sneaked on without tickets and police conducting random ID checks.
"In the past several years, I can only recall twice being asked to show my ticket and have never been asked to produce my ID," says Fred, adding that he's of Ukrainian/English ancestry, and quite Slavic-looking. "The other day I even attempted to show my ticket to a conductor, and she just waved me off with a surprised, impatient look."
Similar to the study on racial profiling, "from what I've seen, the police and conductors go straight for any dark-skinned people sitting in the car, and there are lots of them, since the construction boom in the Moscow area relies on cheap migrant workers from places like Tajikistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, etc. This sort of thing is so commonplace that, when I told a Russian friend I was writing a story about it, she said, 'Why would anybody be interested in that?' "
• Blogger Freed: After six weeks in detention, Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel-Fatah was released Thursday.
As reported on May 17, "Web community rallies to free Egyptian blogger," Mr. Abdel-Fatah is one among hundreds of demonstrators detained last month while protesting the treatment of two judges who claimed that recent Egyptian parliamentary elections were rigged. Abdel-Fatah and his wife, Manal Hassan, published a widely read blog called Manalaa.
David Clark Scott