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RFE/RL’s Tajik, Georgian Service Journalists Recognized For Human Rights Reporting

Title screen for the RFE/RL Georgian Service documentary 'Prejudice and Pride,' recognized with the first Lekso Lashkarava Award on December 9 by Human Rights House of Georgia.

Journalists from RFE/RL’s Tajik Service (Radioi Ozodi) and Georgian Service (Radio Tavisupleba) were recognized this week for their national contributions to human rights reporting.

On December 9th, the Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law in Tajikistan, part of Tajikistan’s Ministry of Justice and a member of the International Federation for Human Rights, honored RFE/RL Tajik Service correspondent Mulloradzhab Yusufzoda with an award "For Active Citizenship in Journalism”. Yusufzoda, a frequent contributor to the Tajik Service, has been working for RFE/RL’s Dushanbe bureau since 2017. His work has included covering the COVID-19 pandemic, Badakhshan protests, human rights violations, and poverty in Tajikistan. While reporting on fuel prices in the country, he was attacked and beaten.

The prize, awarded annually, is dedicated to recognizing exceptional achievement in active citizenship through journalism. Previous awardees include former presidential nominee Oinihol Bobonazarova, prominent lawyer Shuhrat Kudratov, as well as journalists and civil activists from across Tajikistan.

Also on December 9, two journalists from RFE/RL’s Georgian Service, Tornike Mandaria and Dato Koridze, were recognized by the Human Rights House of Georgia, with the inaugural Lekso Lashkarava Prize, for their documentary, Prejudice and Pride, about the July 5th violence against LGBT activists and journalists in Tbilisi during the city’s Pride Week. The award is sponsored by the Norwegian Human Rights House Foundation.

Lashkarava was a TV Pirveli cameraman who died only days after being severely beaten by the mobs on July 5th. More than 50 other journalists were attacked by the hate groups that day. Mandaria and Koridze themselves were also physically assaulted during the protests, as well as the service’s film crew while creating the award-winning documentary.

-- Erica Stefano