RFE’s Persian Service, Radio Farda has won two silver medals from the 2011 New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards, an annual competition recognizing excellence in international broadcasting.
“Pas Farda,” the station’s signature satire show, won in the categories for “Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program” and “Best Announcer Presentation.” Host Farshid Manafi is the first Iranian radio personality to win an award in these categories.
Airing five nights per week in Iran, Manafi — who is officially banned from the Iranian airwaves — uses his show to skewer political and social mores inside Iran, providing a breath of fresh air in a media climate devoid of critical voices. Despite frequent jamming by Iranian authorities, the show is immensely popular and can generate hundreds of phone calls and comments with each broadcast.
“It is very difficult to produce satire for Iranians when you receive news of arrests, torture and executions of innocent people such as journalists, civil society activists and even young people and ordinary citizens whose aspiration is nothing more than freedom,” said Manafi, as he dedicated his award to those Iranians killed following the 2009 elections. “These days, satire is unfortunately the reality of daily life in Iran. It is a bitter satire.”
Now in its 54th year, this year’s New York Festivals awards presented competition from top broadcasting organizations in 26 countries. Entries are judged by panels of international award winning industry professionals who are recognized as leaders in their respective fields.
The 2011 awards ceremony was held at Manhattan Penthouse on Monday evening in New York City.