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Best Of RFE/RL: March

Each month 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 February, 2018.

News & Current Affairs

Shopping Mall Fire In Kemerovo, Russia

With Russian state channels giving scant coverage to the victims of the blaze that struck a shopping-mall movie theater in Kemerovo, Russia, Current Time sent three crews to report live from local rallies and funerals. The coverage was viewed some 16 million times across social media. A video of a father describing his daughter’s last words was watched 7.2 million times in Russian.

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Feature Long

Truth And Consequences

Produced in three languages, the Uzbek Service’s investigative documentary examining torture in prisons controlled by Uzbekistan’s National Security Service (SNB) immediately went viral on social media, with more than 600 thousand views in one week. The video looks into corruption within the SNB and reform efforts by President Mirzoyoev, featuring secret footage from inside the SNB headquarters and jails by RFE/RL’s Uzbek cameraman.

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Feature Short

Crackdown In Londongrad?

RF/RL Central News Room’s video reporting from London went beyond the news of the nerve-gas attack in the U.K. on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and explored the growing calls for Britain to use recently enacted powers for a crackdown on corrupt Russian oligarchs who own London properties. Broadcast by Current Time, the video reached a wider audience for being translated into Russian and other languages.

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Feature Short

Afghan Girl’s Dream Comes True

After the Afghan Service published the profile of Gul Nesa, 19, an illiterate girl whose dream is to become a teacher, the local authorities in Bamyan Province established an educational center that will provide 50 girls and women with free education in the Peerdad village. The spokesman for the provincial governor confirmed that Radio Free Afghanistan’s reporting had prompted the action.

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Social Video

One Cannot Surrender After That

In this touching video by the Ukrainian Service’s Crimean Desk, prominent Crimean Tatar leader Akhtem Chiygoz meets Bogdan, a schoolboy from Lviv who wrote him a letter of support while Chiygoz was in a Russian jail for supporting Ukrainian territorial integrity and the rights of Crimean Tatars. The video raised awareness of rights abuses in Crimea and was viewed some 200 thousand times on Facebook.

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Text/Audio

Life Inside The ‘Meat Grinder'

With over 300 thousand views, the Russian Service’s report on the deaths of Russian mercenaries fighting in Syria on February 7 during massive U.S. air strikes was the Service’s most popular article of the month. The report included firsthand accounts of veteran fighters who came home alive and an anonymous interview with a private company organizing groups of mercenaries to fight in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

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Special Project

Putin's 'State Of The Nation' Speech: Annotated

Using a simple but clever bit of technology to read between the lines, the Central News Room gave Putin's annual speech the once-over, providing fact checks, reality checks, background, and context to satisfy even the most demanding Putin watchers.

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