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Persian Letters Stirs Up Blogosphere, Is Finalist For Online Journalism Awards

RFE/RL senior correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari's blog, Persian Letters: Notes Of An Iran Watcher, has been nominated for the second year in a row by the Online News Association (ONA) for an Online Journalism Award in online topical blogging.

For the past 10 years, the ONA in partnership with the University of Miami’s School of Communication has awarded journalists for their excellence in digital journalism.

One of RFE/RL’s most widely-read blogs, Persian Letters features under-reported stories with insight and analysis from cultural, political and social spheres of Iranian society. Written and edited by Esfandiari, the blog gives voice to other Iranian bloggers, clerics, anarchists, feminists, and even Basij members.

Persian Letters is a platform for free discussion on issues that concern all levels of Iranian society. Reports on the imprisonment of Iranian activists, propaganda efforts to force Iranian women to respect the hijab, and stories that open up discussion on censorship, such as "The Little Boy Who Spoke The Truth On Iran's State TV," have contributed to the flow of dynamic and thought-provoking content. Trends and topics from the Iranian blogosphere that otherwise may not be heard occupy the center of public debate--thanks to Persian Letters.

Persian Letters Stirs Up Blogosphere

One of Esfandiari's recent popular blog posts challenged the controversial NBC report that could have been produced by Iranian state TV. Her commentary and analysis of the interview, which she said portrayed Ahmedinejad as a "pious superman," was referenced by news organizations such as The Atlantic and The Jerusalem Post.

Persian Letters is regularly published and discussed by major international media outlets, including Foreign Policy, The Atlantic Wire, The Guardian and The Browser. Esfandiari's unique writing voice and dedication to the Iranian people's stories contributes to the popularity of the blog. Her interview in 2006 with the wife of Iran's most prominent investigative journalist, Akbar Ganji, was published in six languages at the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

Follow Golnaz Esfandiari on Twitter: @GEsfandiari.

-- Deana Kjuka