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RFE/RL's Kazakh Team Wins ONA Award

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) RFE/RL's Kazakh website has won a prestigious award for excellence in online journalism. The Online News Association (ONA) singled out RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, known locally as Radio Azattyq, for "standing in defense of citizens' rights to seek and receive information."

The judges noted Radio Azattyq's rebuff of government attempts to censor a book critical of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. They commended the station for "good original journalism and tenacity of purpose."

The judges commended Radio Azattyq for "good original journalism and tenacity of purpose.

"This is a well-deserved honor for our journalists, who, every day, face challenges in bringing uncensored news and information to the Kazakh people," said Radio Azattyq Director Yedige Maguin. "The media is tightly controlled in Kazakhstan. Last summer, our website was blocked for seven weeks. We routinely come under pressure for our reporting, but our journalists persevere - this award validates their efforts."

According to the ONA, this year's Online Journalism Award winners "will get a unique kind of immortality" -- they will be enshrined in a new exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Radio Azattyq won the award in the category of "General Excellence in Online Journalism, Non-English, Small Site." Launched in May 2000, the Online Journalism Awards are presented annually by the ONA in partnership with the the University of Miami's School of Communications. The final winners in each category were announced at a banquet in San Francisco, CA.

About Radio Azattyq

Radio Azattyq was established in 1953 and provides dependable news and information to the people of Kazakhstan. Restrictions in the Kazakh media market and limited airtime have imposed a heavy burden that Radio Azattyq is countering with dynamic programming and stepped-up cooperation -- online and over the airwaves -- with local and regional media.