RFE/RL's Khadija Ismayilova

BBG Journalists Worldwide Honored in 2012 for Skill, Talent and Courage

Khadija Ismayilova
RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service correspondent Khadija Ismayilova was honored by the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Washington, DC – Journalists all around the world who work under the direction of the Broadcasting Board of Governors were recognized for their skill, talent and courage with dozens of awards from groups involved with media and the public interest in 2012.

BBG journalists received accolades from the New York Festivals, the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB), the Society of Environmental Journalists, the South East Europe Media Organization and many other organizations.

Michael Lynton, presiding governor of the board overseeing the agency, said, “The Board is proud of all the men and women who work for the BBG, sometimes at great personal risk, to bring the light of truth to the darkest corners of the world.  But we take special pride in those whose efforts are noted by recognized centers of excellence in the areas of journalism, media freedom and human rights. They alone deserve the honors, but we are delighted to share in celebrating their achievements.”

Voice of America

Innovative uses of online media garnered recognition for several Voice of America journalists.  VOA’s Jessica Beinecke, host and creator of the online English-Chinese teaching program, OMG! Meiyu received the 2012 AIB Founders Award.  Arash Sigarchi of VOA’s Persian Service received the Deutsche Welle International Blog Award, which highlights online writing that champions the open exchange of ideas and freedom of expression, for his personal blog, Window of Anguish.  And VOA’s Middle East Voices, which combines traditional reporting, commentary, and the stories of people living through the Arab Spring, was honored with the Online Journalism Award for topical reporting.

The 2012 Clarion Award for a television feature story/segment went to VOA reporter Carolyn Presutti, photographer/editor Michael Burke and photographer Mike Kornely, for their report, The Falling Man, based on one of the mostcontroversial images from the September 11th, 2001 terror attack in New York.

And Elez Biberaj, the Director of VOA’s Eurasia Division and former head of the VOA Albanian Service, received a Presidential Medal of Gratitude from Albanian President Bamir Topi.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Journalists for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty who work under difficult and sometimes dangerous conditions received a measure of encouragement with recognition by regional and international groups.  RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service correspondent Khadija Ismayilova was honored by the International Women’s Media Foundation with its Courage in Journalism Award, and Dovletmyrat Yazkuliyev, a correspondent for RFE/RL’s Turkmen language service, won a Hellman/Hammett grant for his fearless reporting in Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most closed societies.

The Institute of War and Peace Reporting honored journalists from RFE/RL’s Armenian Service for their work on women’s rights issues.  The Moscow Helsinki Group recognized former RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Kristina Gorelik for her human rights reporting.   Former RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Elena Vlasenko was a finalist for the Andrei Sakharov Award for Journalism as an Act of Conscience; certificates for this award were issued to finalists and the news organizations that published their work. Lyudmilla Telen received the Honor, Dignity & Professionalism award from the Russian Union of Journalists for her work, starting in the 1970s and 1980s with Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper and later with RFE/RL and Sovershenno Sekretno.

The Champion of Tolerance Award from the United Nations Development Programme and the Georgian Public Defender’s Office this year went to RFE/RL’s Georgian Service.

And Radio Farda journalist Vahid Pour Ostad was highly commended by the AIB for his report Enferadi (Solitary Confinement).

Middle East Broadcasting Networks

The South East Europe Media Organization recognized Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and his cameraman, Cüneyt Ünal, with its 10th Annual Human Rights Award.  The two disappeared while working in Syria August 20. Ünal was later released, but there has been no official word on Fahmi’s whereabouts.  The BBG continues to call on authorities in Syria to provide information about him.

Radio Sawa was honored with gold, silver and bronze medals at the New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards®.  The broadcaster received the gold and bronze medals for its coverage of the Egyptian Revolution and a silver medal for its coverage of violence in Misratah, Libya.

Alhurra TV’s Senior Broadcast Designer, Ahamed Batcha K., received a gold award for best original logo design for Musawat (Arabic for Equality), and a silver award for best use of Arabic typography at the PromaxBDA Arabia Awards. The Pan Arab Web Awards Academy honored Radio Sawa with its Facebook Interactive Award, and Afia Darfur was highly commended at the AIB awards.

Radio Free Asia

Radio Free Asia also was recognized with multiple awards at the New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards®.  The Uyghur Service’s Shohret Hoshur received a gold medal for a story called “Hear the Children Cry Freedom,” which chronicled the hardships faced by four Uyghur youths. The Korean Service’s Jung Min Noh, Won Hee Lee, Jinseo Lee were named as finalists for their stories about North Korean refugees, families separated during the Korean War and the potential for Korean unification.

At the Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards, RFA’s video documentary series on human trafficking, “An Invisible World – The Lives of Slaves in Modern Asia,” won first place in the online content category, and its Cantonese language service received a merit award for a story on the humiliation of a Chinese rights advocate.  The awards are sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents Club, Amnesty International, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association.   The series was also recognized as “highly commended” by the AIB.

Office of Cuba Broadcasting

TV Martí was nominated for Emmy Awards for its audio design work and for programs Estado de SATS and Hacia La Democracia.