Radio Free Asia

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RFA is a private, nonprofit, multimedia news corporation. Through nine language services, RFA brings award-winning, authoritative, and domestic journalism and uncensored content to people in Asian countries that restrict free speech, freedom of the press and access to reliable information beyond their borders. Through television, satellite transmissions, social media platforms, mobile apps, and digital content available on 10 websites, in addition to reliable shortwave and AM radio broadcasts, RFA engages audiences in China, North Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., RFA has eight overseas bureaus and offices, as well as a vast network of correspondents in Asia and around the world. Call-in programs, multimedia reports, and interactive websites offer audiences an open forum in which they can freely express and exchange opinion, perspectives, and ideas. RFA reports are regularly cited by major domestic and international media outlets.

Fast Facts

  • Budget: $38.3 million in FY 2015
  • Employees: 256
  • Languages: 9
  • Mobile Apps: available in 12 versions on Apple iOS and Android

Highlights

2015

Myanmar Elections. Radio Free Asia’s Myanmar Service closely covered the elections in Myanmar, in which millions overwhelmingly voted to give Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party a landslide victory. To cover the historic polls, a team of RFA journalists traveled throughout Myanmar’s many regions for perspectives from local men and women, younger people, candidates, officials, and international observers. For four weeks leading up to the election, the Myanmar Service launched RFA’s first live TV broadcasts, providing an hour of daily election-related coverage for in-country audiences.

Kokang Humanitarian Crisis. Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin and Myanmar services extensively covered hostilities between Burma’s ethnic Kokang group and Burmese forces on the China-Burma border. Clashes resulted in hundreds of deaths and displaced tens of thousands, many of whom fled over the border into China to live in refugee camps, enduring poor conditions and reported cases of physical abuse and rape by Myanmar troops.

Cross Teardowns in Eastern China. RFA’s Mandarin Service closely covered China’s religious persecution in stunning detail in the eastern Zhejiang province, which has a large number of Christians. Citing a new campaign against so-called “illegal structures,” government officials began tearing down crosses from churches all over the province.

Dalai Lama’s 80th Birthday. The 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama was celebrated with much fanfare all over the world in July. But inside Tibet, where just possessing a photo of the Dalai Lama can result in punishment, RFA’s Tibetan Service received a video from a monastery in Gansu province, on the Tibetan plateau, where monks had gathered to offer rituals and prayers in honor of their exiled leader.

China’s Nuclear Risks. RFA Cantonese’s four-part multimedia series, “A Citizenry Left in the Dark: China’s Nuclear Power Industry,” follows on RFA’s revelations in June 2010 when a nuclear power plant in close proximity to Hong Kong leaked radioactive material. Five years later, the majority of local residents interviewed by RFA at other nuclear power plants in southern China were only vaguely aware of nearby facilities, much less the health risks. In April, the series won the Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of professional journalists.

Laos’ Khoungxi Falls. In Laos, RFA reported exclusively on a provincial governor, who also happened to be the son-in-law of a former president, who approved a 99 year concession for the land around one of the country’s most famous natural landmarks, the Khouangxi waterfalls. The public exposure led to a slap on the wrist and the provincial governor’s transfer to another government position.

North Korea’s Prison Camps. In a six-part investigative series, RFA’s Korean service took a hard and painful look into North Korea’s infamous political prison camps and the horrendous human rights violations the Kim Jong Un regime is committing inside them. Based on interviews with camp survivors, former prison guards, and human rights activists, our reporters were able to gain unprecedented knowledge of conditions in these camps, which are scattered throughout the country.  It is estimated that as many as 400,000 people have died in these camps from torture, starvation, disease, and execution. RFA’s series became the basis for an e-book, available in English and Korean.

China’s Crackdown on Lawyers. Beginning in July, the Chinese government began systematically raiding the homes of human rights lawyers and legal activists. Since then, nearly 300 lawyers and activists around the country have been either detained or disappeared. RFA reported on these cases, breaking news about several of them, including the recent arrest of rights lawyer Wang Yu’s 16-year-old son on the Burmese border as he tried to escape to the United States.

Khmer Service TV. In December , RFA’s Khmer Service began posting its first half-hour TV news program online, TV Azziz Serey, or TV Free Asia, with plans to expand to an hour every day.

Khmer Rouge 40th Anniversary. In April, RFA’s Khmer Service marked the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge’s takeover of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. RFA interviewed survivors who were imprisoned by the brutal regime and a former Khmer Rouge soldier.

Breaking Free. RFA launched a multimedia online series focusing on survivors of human trafficking in Asia. The series follows on an award-winning RFA project in 2012 and features eight video reports from the ground, with interviews with former victims, and four graphic animations in Asian languages. The animations, produced in part by BBG staff, are based on drawings by a well-known former victim of human trafficking living in Cambodia today, Vannak Prum.

Beating of Cambodian Opposition Lawmakers. RFA’s Khmer Service reported that two Cambodian opposition lawmakers were attacked outside the National Assembly building in Phnom Penh. A political truce between the two major parties broke down earlier in 2015 when opposition members were jailed on what they claim were politically motivated charges of insurrection.
Uyghur Mine Attack. In November, Chinese security forces killed 28 suspects accused of a bloody September attack on a coal mine, flushing them out of a cave with flamethrowers in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The attack was first reported by RFA’s Uyghur Service, which uncovered that many of the fleeing suspects were families, including women and children. Global outlets and human rights groups worldwide including CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Le Obs, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch cited RFA’s report.

 

Earlier Highlights

Awards

In November, RFA won at the International Media Excellence Awards, sponsored by the Association of International Broadcasters (AIB), for its e-book “Remembering Tiananmen.” The e-book, which documents the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, includes video, interactive timelines, images, and audio, and was produced in close collaboration with BBG’s Office of Digital & Design Innovation (ODDI).

In June 2013, New York Festivals international radio programs awards honored RFA’s Uyghur Service with a gold medal for its ongoing coverage of the forced disappearances of Uyghur men since the 2009 uprising in Urumqi.

In April 2013, RFA’s Cantonese Service won a regional Edward R. Murrow award from the Radio Television Digital News Association. The service won for an exclusive interview with a fugitive Chinese real-estate mogul who went into hiding after being targeted by disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

In February 2013, RFA Cantonese won a Gracie award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation for its coverage of a daughter who was kidnapped and forced to work as a maid reuniting with her parents after 22 years of separation.

 

For more information about RFA, click here.

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