WASHINGTON – Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Persian-language service Radio Farda took home a Silver Award in the “Documentary | Human Rights” category at the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards, for Fahimeh Khezr Heidari’s audio documentary “The Censored Life of Shabnam Tolouei.”
The hour-long audio documentary tells the story of Iranian actress, director and playwright Shabnam Tolouei, who was censored by the government for refusing to renounce her Bahá’í faith. The piece traces Tolouei’s journey from a high-profile career in Iranian theater to exile, and is the second installment in the Radio Farda series “My Censored Life.”
“The ’My Censored Life’ docuseries is at the very core of RFE/RL's journalistic mission, telling untold stories and breaking through heavy censorship,” said Mohammad Hossein Boghrati, Editor in Chief of Radio Farda. “It is a sincere and heartfelt attempt to document the anguish that widespread and persistent oppression, along with systematic censorship, in the Islamic Republic have caused Iranians for years."
Storytellers from 24 countries were recognized at the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards. Entries spanned genres from podcasts and audiobooks to audio dramas and documentaries.
“We are so pleased to see Radio Farda’s impactful work receive international recognition,” said RFE/RL President Jamie Fly. “I congratulate Fahimeh for her impactful reporting and the team at Radio Farda for bringing the story to life.”
This is not the first time Radio Farda or RFE/RL have earned recognition from New York Festivals, which honors radio and video content from across the globe with annual awards. Most recently, RFE/RL’s Russian and Kyrgyz services won Silver Awards for documentaries in 2017. In 2015, Radio Farda took home two awards, with Roya Karimi Majd’s special report “Tradition of the Blade” and Kambiz Hosseini’s “Five in the Afternoon” program winning gold and silver, respectively.th gaining recognition in 2015.
RFE/RL’s Iranian Service, known as Radio Farda, breaks through government censorship, providing accurate news and a platform for informed discussion and debate to audiences in Iran. Radio Farda’s website earned more than 176 million visits and 310 million page views in FY2021, and it engages with more than 5.5 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
-- Molly Kruse