The Association for International Broadcasting honored Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty at its Media Excellence Awards ceremony last night in London. RFA won the top prize in the Innovation Production Technology category for its e-book “Remembering Tiananmen,” and RFE/RL was highly commended for its investigative radio documentary “Victims of 88 (AKA 2009)” and its short feature “At Afghan Brickworks, Family Trapped in Cycle of Debt.”
“The entries in 2013 demonstrated the continuing dedication of programme makers and journalists to uncover important and challenging stories, to take risks, both personally and professionally, and to work expertly to investigate and explain complex subjects,” said AIB CEO Simon Spanswick. “Once again the judges have had the hard but rewarding search for the best out of a very strong set of entries.”
Remembering Tiananmen is RFA’s first fully interactive book for the tablet market. A co-production with the BBG’s Office of Digital Design and Innovation, the publication gathers audio eyewitness accounts, historic “photography and video exclusive to RFA, and archive news photography and pairs these previously published items with specially commissioned text, custom maps, and diagrams. The heart of the book is an interactive timeline that lets reader navigate events chronologically, in addition to traditional chapter-based browsing. Through the multimedia interface the viewer not only reads the narrative facts of events, but also experiences the sights and sounds of Beijing in the spring of 1989.
AIB judges remarked that the production has “many potential applications of this idea in bringing new media to a wider audience.”
“This award puts a spotlight on an event that Chinese censors have attempted to blot out in the mainland for more than 24 years,” said Libby Liu, President of RFA. “This recognition also underscores Radio Free Asia’s hard work getting accurate news in difficult media environments.”
“This was a challenging, but incredibly rewarding project to work on,” said Steve Fuchs, Manager of Design for the ODDI. “The fact that it is being recognized internationally is exceptionally gratifying.”
“The Victims of 88 (AKA 2009),” a radio series produced by Masih Alinejad of RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, tells the story of the people who lost their lives protesting the results of the 2009 presidential election in Iran. The judges commented, “superb research is its foundation.”
And judges noted that Radio Free Afghanistan’s “Afghan Brickworks, Family Trapped In Cycle Of Debt”is “a tragic story, sensitively told and utterly compelling.” The short feature by Sabawoon and Frud Bezhan looks at the lives of Zabit Khan and his nine children, who are bonded laborers working to pay off family debts at a brick factory in Afghanistan.
“We’re honored that RFE/RL’s work in Iran and Afghanistan has been recognized by the AIB, and congratulate our Radio Free Asia colleagues on their win,” said Kevin Klose, President of RFE/RL. “Illuminating the world in which our audiences live is the first duty of all journalists working for US international media, and we’re pleased that so much of our reporting has resonated with those audiences and with our international broadcasting peers.”
The networks of the Broadcasting Board of Governors had a total of 13 finalists for this year’s Association for International Broadcasting Media Excellence Awards.