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Best Of RFE/RL: Annual Awards

Each year RFE/RL’s Editorial Board celebrates the greatest journalistic achievements in breaking news coverage, reporting, features, videos, and photography within its 25 Language Services. Below are the winners for 2017.

News & current affairs

Freedom Day

A huge audience witnessed the brutality of law enforcement agencies thanks to RFE/RL’s Belarus Service’s coverage of mass protests on Freedom Day March 25 in Minsk, Brest, Hrodna, and Homel. The videos received over half a million views; the most popular was a four-hour long stream that was watched over 200 thousand times.

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Feature short

Extremist Ties Turn Brother Against Brother In Tajikistan

RFE/RL’s Tajik Service’s coverage of the unique story of a man who turned his brother over to the Tajik special services to prevent him from fighting for the Islamic State gained over 70 thousand views on Facebook and YouTube. Most viewers praised his action with comments like “You saved your brother’s life and prevented him from killing others.”

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Feature short

A City Of The Blind

As part of RFE/RL’s Current Time’s show Unknown Russia, this emotional story about the lives of blind and visually-impaired citizens relocated by authorities to the village of Rusinovo received a great deal of press attention, spurred on legislative action on the ground, and created a crowdfunding opportunity for the protagonist.

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Feature long

Sheremet

RFE/RL’s Russian Service’s 50-minute-long powerful documentary on the life and violent death of Pavel Sheremet, a leading journalist in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine who was brutally murdered two years ago in Kyiv, is brave, personal, and deeply touching. It is about the oppressive information landscape in the post-soviet sphere and the price of journalistic freedom.

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Short video/Social content

Child Abuse Discovered In An Uzbek Nursery

RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service used shocking evidence obtained by police of child abuse at a nursery school in the Denov district of the country's Surkondaryo region to further investigate the case. The social video generated wide discussion with hundreds of comments, and was viewed over 200 thousand times on Facebook.

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Special project

Finding Elvis: Tracking Down a Bosnian Boy 25 Years After The War

RFE/RL’s Balkan Service’s trailer and interview with a German photographer who wanted to track down Elvis – whom he last saw as a 6-year-old boy during the 1990s Bosnian war, was watched almost 200 thousand times on Facebook. Following an emotional reunion in Sarajevo, many former refugees from the Varazdin camp in northern Croatia decided to connect after 25 years.

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Special project

The Manhoff Archive

RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom’s discovery of a long-hidden collection of photographs and videos documenting life under Stalin’s Soviet Union became an outstanding multimedia project that attracted great interest in the region, especially in Russia. Displaying the only independent footage of Stalin’s funeral, it brought hundreds and thousands of web hits and video views on social networks.

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Text/audio

Pakistani Clerics Raise Funds For Afghan Taliban's War

RFE/RL’s Pakistani Service’s interview with a cleric providing concrete proof of the open collection of money for the Taliban insurgency in neighboring Afghanistan demonstrates how text can have significant impact in the age of social media and TV. Short, precise, and timely, it promoted discussion in Pakistan’s media and was shared by leading American experts on the region.

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Overall excellence

Schemes

The courageous team of RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service’s weekly co-Russian program Schemes is at the frontlines of fighting corruption and it's work is recognized in Ukraine and internationally. Despite facing constant pressure in the form of threats, menacing phone calls, and attacks in public, their stories bring tangible results, including high profile resignations and charges.

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