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Afghan President Honors RFE/RL Journalists

Afghan Service journalists honored -- Top left, bottom left, bottom right: Nusrat Parsa, Shah Mahmood Shinwary, and Najia Safi receiving awards from Afghan President Abdul Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani; top right, Elyas Daee recognized by the Kabul Press Club.

WASHINGTON -- Several journalists working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Afghan Service, known locally as Radio Azadi, have been honored by the country’s highest officials and authorities for their courage and their contributions to education, human rights, and peace.

At a May 7 event in Kabul marking World Press Freedom Day, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani presented the country’s fourth-highest state honor, the Medal of Mir Bacha Khan, to video journalist Nusrat Parsa for distinguished service in the cultural and educational spheres. Najia Safi, who produces a call-in health clinic for Radio Azadi, received the Medal of Malalai of Maiwand, awarded to Afghan and foreign women who have made significant achievements in either military or civilian life. Reporter Shah Mahmood Shinwary was presented a letter of appreciation for his coverage of Afghanistan’s ongoing fight with Islamic State militants in eastern Nangarhar province.

The Kabul Press Club honored the day by naming Radio Azadi’s Elyas Daee one of Afghanistan’s four “Bravest Journalists of the Year” for his front-line reporting in southern Helmand province. Afghanistan’s Government Media and Information Center (GMIC) presented certificates of appreciation for distinguished radio reporting to Sahar Lewal and Freshta Neda. Javed Hasanzada was recognized by the Complaint Commission of the Meshrano Jirga (upper house) of the Afghan Parliament for his efforts to bring attention to the voices of ordinary Afghan citizens.

RFE/RL's Afghan Service recently celebrated the 15th year since its launch in January 2002. To mark the occasion, the Broadcasting Board of Governors on April 6, 2017 adopted a resolution congratulating the Service, noting that "Radio Azadi is considered the most trustworthy source of local news and information in Afghanistan, and remains the most popular radio station in the country."

Acknowledging the impact of RFE/RL’s Pashto-language broadcasts, the governor of Logar Province, Mohammad Halim Fedaee, expressed appreciation to Radio Mashaal, RFE/RL’s Pashto-language broadcaster for northwest Pakistan and the Pashtun communities living on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. At a World Press Freedom Day event on May 2, Governor Fedaee presented a certificate of appreciation to Radio Mashaal, which read (in part), “Your programs give voice to the suffering people of this region and inform them about the golden principle of democracy, human rights and freedom of speech.”