(Washington, DC --- April 10, 2008)
The Baghdad Bureau of Radio Free Iraq, the Arabic language broadcast of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, has won the 2008 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award.
RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin today congratulated the bureau staff, saying: "This year, there were many good candidates at RFE/RL. I commend your grace under pressure, perseverance and persistence in getting the news to Iraqi listeners in an extraordinarily dangerous reporting environment."
The David Burke award is named after a former chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency and RFE/RL's supervisory body. It is awarded annually in recognition of courage, integrity and originality in reporting by journalists within the BBG organizations.
The BBG announcement
this week said: "The Baghdad bureau of RFE/RL earned the award for exceptional journalism while working in the most dangerous country in the world for journalists."
In 2007, two RFE/RL correspondents were murdered in separate targeted killings, another was kidnapped and held hostage for two weeks, and RFE/RL's Baghdad bureau chief went into exile after he received death threats. On a number of occasions, Radio Free Iraq reporters walking about Baghdad narrowly escaped injury from nearby suicide car bombings.
Baghdad correspondents over the past 12 months have interviewed almost every major figure in Iraqi politics, including President Jalal Talibani, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, government ministers and parliamentarians, providing balanced coverage of domestic developments. In addition to Baghdad-based correspondents, the bureau provides logistical and editorial support for a network of 20 journalists on the ground in central, northern and southern Iraq.
Radio Free Iraq, which celebrates its tenth anniversary of broadcasts this year, is on the air 17 hours a day with programs produced in Prague and the service's Baghdad Bureau and transmitted to listeners via nationwide AM and satellite signals; FM broadcasts on IBB transmitters located in Baghdad, Arbil, Basra, Kirkuk, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Samawa, and Sulaymaniyah; and on the Internet at www.rferl.org