RFA Press Release


BBG Watch Commentary

We note with great pleasure that two of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) surrogate media outlets — Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) — won some of this year’s prestigious International Media Excellence Awards, held by the Association of International Broadcasters (AIB). The awards were announced at a ceremony, also known as the AIBs, in London.

Congratulations to both RFE/RL and RFA!




AIBs – 2013 Winners and Highly Commended Announced

Posted on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 by Roger Stone

The winners of the 2013 AIBs were announced tonight by the Association for International Broadcasting at a gala dinner at LSO St Luke’s in London.

These annual international broadcasting awards are now in their ninth year and celebrate the best in radio, TV and transmedia – programmes, technology and talent.  The AIBs are judged by an independent and international panel of distinguished media professionals representing broadcasting across the world and they ensure that the awards are judged independently from commercial influence.  The chosen winners demonstrate the best in engaging, powerful, moving and innovative reporting and investigation from entries which are submitted by countries in every continent of the world.

Simon Spanswick, AIB CEO said: ”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.  The entries educate, entertain and engage their audience using the latest technologies at their disposal.  We have seen important and sometimes harrowing stories brought to light, the power of the voice to captivate as well as exciting and engrossing coverage of sporting events.  Once again the judges have had the hard but rewarding search for the best out of a very strong set of entries.”

As well as categories for current affairs, live journalism, short features and documentaries, there were also awards for best programmes in science, sport, and children’s television, for best use of transmedia, for most innovative production technology and separate awards for TV and radio personalities

This year’s awards were hosted by Melissa Bell, international correspondent at France24.  They included an inspiring conversation with Giles Duley, the photojournalist whose work on humanitarian issues and the consequences of conflict has taken on extra power after he himself was severely injured while working in Afghanistan. The champagne reception was sponsored by Ruptly.

The 2013 AIBs | Winners and highly commended finalists

Domestic current affairs documentary – TV
VRT for ‘The Disturbed Procedure’
—”a very moving film and a scary human story“—

Highly commended
Antena 3 for ‘Hells Angels’
—”A harrowing and gripping documentary that demonstrated how the film makers built great relationships with the addicts“—
France24 for ’7 Days in Tibet’
—”Beautifully shot by courageous journalists who put themselves at great risk“—

International current affairs documentary – TV
Channel 4 for ‘Walking Wounded: Return to the Frontline’
—”brilliant documentary, a unique, personal and moving film with exceptional photography and editing“—

Highly commended
BBC Current Affairs for ‘Shot for Going to School’
—”an exceptionally well-constructed documentary covering a burning issue in a very “human” way “—
Channel NewsAsia for ‘Living in the Shadows’
—“A remarkable piece of research uncovering a hidden side of China“—

Investigative documentary – radio
Tinderbox Production for ‘An Unspeakable Act’
—”a completely engaging, harrowing and thought-provoking piece of radio “—

Highly commended
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty for ‘ Victims of 88 (AKA 2009)’
—”superb research is its foundation“—

Science programme
JSC Nauka for ‘Helicopters’
—”excellent explanations and a light-hearted take on presenting complex scientific issues “—

Highly commended
RT Channel for ‘More than Meets the Eye’
—”Good use of graphics and clear explanations“—

Live journalism – TV
CNN for ‘Anti-government Protests in Turkey’
—”great live, on-the ground reporting in challenging circumstances “—

Highly commended
BBC Persian for ‘Coverage of the Iranian Presidential Elections’
—”depth of subject and context and slick and engaging journalism“—
NDTV for ‘Delhi Gang Rape Protests’
—”good live coverage of the demonstrations and protests “—

Live journalism – radio
BBC Five Live for the ‘Victoria Derbyshire Show’
—”classic investigative journalism and in-depth reporting, well-balanced and thoroughly researched“—

Middle East documentary
Channel 4 for ‘Syria across the Lines’
—”brave, sensitive and comprehensive filmmaking “—

Investigative documentary – TV
Channel 4 for Dispatches: The Hunt for Britain’s Sex Gangs’
—”a brave examination of a complex subject that never flinches from searching for the truth“—

Highly commended
Channel NewsAsia for ‘Get Rea! – Bangladesh Brothel Secret’
—”thought-provoking and insightful“—
TVC News for ‘TVC News Investigates – The Accused’
—”a very brave piece on a difficult subject“—

Radio creative feature
Nuala Macklin for ‘Below the Radar’
—”rich story-telling with skilful moderation“—

Highly commended
Kazakhstan Republican TV & Radio for ‘Classicomania’
—”Relaxing, entertaining, educational and original“—
Voice of Nigeria for ‘Ripples’
—”inviting and educational, enhanced by attractive and well-used music and dramatic adaptation“—

Radio current affairs documentary
Grey Heron Media for ‘Take No More’
—” compelling radio with a dynamic and pace of which you do not tire“—

Highly commended
Radio Taiwan International for ‘My Days at the Mental Ward’
—” immediate appeal, and demonstrates fine production values and excellent pace“—
Voice of Russia for ‘FGM – The Horror of Hidden Abuse’
—” high production values combined with strong and passionate interviews“—

Short feature
CNN for ‘ Damascus Undercover: Daraya’
—” Insightful reporting made this a moving and gripping report“—

Highly commended
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty for ‘ At Afghan Brickworks, Family Trapped in Cycle of Debt’
—”a tragic story, sensitively told and utterly compelling“—
RT Channel for ‘ The human toll of American drones in Pakistan’
—”upsetting, yet honest and direct“—

Live sport coverage
Nine Network for ‘ Boxing Day Test 2012′
—” the use of the spidercam took viewers “up close and personal”“—

Highly commended
Sunset+Vine for ‘Dubai World Cup’
—”outstanding editing and slo-mo shots“—

Transmedia production
LVL Studio for ‘Hockey Night in Canada’
—”an excellent example of a second screen app adding value with a range of unique interactive features“—

Highly commended
Turner Sports for ‘ NCAA March Madness Live’
—”polished, professional and comprehensive transmedia“—

Innovative production technology
Radio Free Asia for ‘ Remembering Tiananmen’
—” many potential applications of this idea in bringing new media to a wider audience“—

Highly commended
TVE for ‘Mapping 2012 – News Summary’
—”a clever concept and it could be adopted as a way to present news in the future“—

Specialist programme
BBC World Service for ‘My City’
—”colourful with the personality of each correspondent“—

Highly commended
Danmarks Radio for ‘The Duel’
—” an extraordinary topic to explore“—
RTG TV for ‘ Journey to the Solovetsky Islands’
—”a beautifully shot programme in stunning high definition, wonderfully colourised“—

Children’s factual programme or series

Sponsored by RTG TV
ABC for My Great Big Adventure – Body Image’
—” handled a delicate and difficult topic sensitively and sensibly“—

Highly commended
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation for ‘Matanglawin (Hawkeye): Sabang Dragons’
—” overcame daunting logistical challenges to produce a highly informative, skilfully shot and edited show“—
BBC Newsround for ‘Hard Times – Newsround Special’
—”powerfully moving narratives“—

International TV personality
Francine Lacqua, Bloomberg Television
—”an excellent, direct style, coupled with a warmth for her guests that belies a steely determination to find answers“—

International radio personality
John Suchet, Classic FM

—”John has a warm personality and he manages to connect with the listener through a great mix of words and music. He’s a great storyteller.“—

You can download the 2013 AIBs winners press release in pdf format here




Contact: Rohit Mahajan 202 530 4976 mahajanr@rfa.org


Radio Free Asia Wins at AIBs for Tiananmen e-Book

WASHINGTON – Radio Free Asia (RFA) last night won a top award for its e-book on the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 in the category of innovative production technology at this year’s International Media Excellence Awards, held by the Association of International Broadcasters (AIB). The award was announced at a ceremony, also known as the AIBs, in London.

“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.

“Radio Free Asia is thrilled to be honored this year at the AIBs among some of the world’s greatest journalists and news organizations.”

Marking the 24th anniversary of the June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in Beijing, RFA–in close collaboration with the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ Office of Digital and Design Innovation (ODDI)–launched Remembering Tiananmen, an interactive e-book in Mandarin and English, in June of this year.Consisting of multimedia content and eyewitness accounts, the digital-format publication recounts the demonstrations and eventual dead-of-night crackdown near Tiananmen Square that left an unknown number of people dead in China’s capital.

The e-book comprises rare video footage, audio recordings, photographs, and a timeline of events, as well as a detailed account by RFA Executive Editor Dan Southerland, then the Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post, who covered the events on the ground with a team of reporters. Also included are interviews with surviving student leaders who discuss the demonstrations that began in mid-April and grew to about a million people in May. The publication’s section titled “Where Are They Now?” focuses on the lives of these student leaders and other central figures since the 1989 crackdown. The English version is available to iPad users. The Mandarin version is available in all e-book formats: PDF, EPUB, Kindle, and iPad.

Other winners this year at the AIBs include RFA’s sister broadcaster, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, CNN, BBC World Service, BBC Persian, Channel 4, Radio Taiwan International, and ChannelNews Asia.

# # #

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting and publishing online news, information, and commentary in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media.  RFA’s broadcasts seek to promote the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” RFA is funded by an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Rohit Mahajan | Radio Free Asia | Media Relations Manager

mahajanr@rfa.org | O: 202.530.4976 | M: 202.489.8021


BBG Networks Win AIB Awards In London

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.”

cover of RFA e-book

cover of RFA e-book

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.”

Logo for show, red Farsi script over blurred green and white flagThe 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.”

Screengrab from Afghan Brickworks, man in Afghan dress wiping his handsAnd 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.


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