Best Of RFE/RL: January 2019
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 January, 2019.
News & Current Affairs
Russia Magnitogorsk Blast
Current Time TV’s coverage of the Magnitogorsk tragedy has received over 2.2 million views since an explosion brought down a ten-story apartment block in just a few seconds in the industrial city in Russia’s Ural region on December 31, killing 39 people. Current Time reporters interviewed survivors who shared their extraordinary stories, and led coverage among audiences in Central Asia, following the plight of an entire family from Tajikistan who died in the explosion.
Prospective Ukrainian Presidential Candidate
An investigation by RFE/RL Ukrainian Service's TV program, Schemes, revealed that one of the presidential candidates, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a star comedian and a well-known TV personality, has some involvement in Russian businesses, tightly controlled by the Kremlin. The story became top news ahead of the elections and was widely cited in the Ukrainian media, as well as quoted in Bloomberg.
Remembering Kosovo's Racak Massacre
RFE/RL’s Balkan Service’s documentary marking the 20th anniversary of the killing of 45 ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian-led security forces in the Kosovar village of Racak is a skillfully produced, compelling and mission orientated video. The massacre sparked international outrage and was one of the factors that led to the 1999 NATO bombing campaign that ended the bloody, two-year war of Kosovar independence.
Flames Of Protest
RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom’s video on the self-immolation of student Jan Palach, 50 years after his desperate act of protest following the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, uses rare archive footage and present-day interviews. It explores the stories of self-immolation in neighboring Communist countries which have been suppressed or forgotten, and provides a fresh look at an important event that became pivotal in the movement to topple Communist rule 20 years later.
"I'm Not Drunk, I Have Cerebral Palsy"
Current Time TV’s social video telling the story of Kazakh businesswoman and blogger Kamilla Shokanova who has cerebral palsy video generated empathy from viewers for raising awareness of the obstacles that many people with disabilities face in their day-to-day lives across the world. The video also encouraged people with disabilities to counter unjust attitudes. It received more than 1 million and 200 thousand views across social networks.
Famine In The Soviet Kazakhstan
As many as 1.5 million people died in Kazakhstan during the great Soviet famine which spanned the winters of 1931-33. While other former Soviet states, notably Ukraine, have marked the famine, the Kazakh government has sought to bury this bitter memory along with the forgotten victims. In an interview with RFE.RL’s Kazakh Service, author of the book Famine In The Soviet Kazakhstan, Sarah Cameron, shares a revelation in the horrors of soviet history.
RFE/RL’s Iranian Service asked viewers and followers who were born just after the 1979 revolution to share their stories of life in the Islamic Republic through one-minute selfie video clips, kick starting the campaign with popular social media influencers and celebrities. The result was a collection of ranging personal, financial, political and at times emotional stories which were viewed tens of thousands of times.