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RFE/RL Salutes Its Journalists, And Their Impact In 2018

One Minute With Niusha Boghrati
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Radio Farda Editor in Chief Niusha Boghrati, on the challenges of covering the massive New Year's 2018 protests, and Farda's continuing battle with disinformation.

PRAGUE -- In a year of mounting challenges to media freedom and independence, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) salutes its journalists, who report the news in 25 languages and 20 countries where a free press is banned or not fully established.

The Committee to Protect Journalists declared “a profound global crisis of press freedom” in its year-end report for 2018, citing the near-doubling of reprisal murders targeting journalists. RFE/RL journalists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are subject to unrelenting pressure because of their reporting, which steadfastly documents the struggle for dignity, democracy and human rights.

Their stories attracted 2.6 billion combined video views on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram in 2018, an 85 percent increase over 2017 that shows increasing demand for a free press even as attacks against it have grown. Here is a baker’s dozen of our favorite RFE/RL videos for the year.


Generation Putin

They were babies when Vladimir Putin first became Russian president. Now they can vote for the first time in a presidential election. Meet "Generation Putin." (Current Time TV)

Against Occupation: 40 Years After Self-Immolation Of Oleksa Hirnyk

Oleksa Hirnyk set himself alight on January 21, 1978, the final act in an uncompromising struggle for an independent, unified Ukrainian state. (Ukrainian Service)

The Afghan Boy Who Supports Nine People

Mansur is just 13 but supports a family of nine by working at a Kabul market with nothing more than a wheelbarrow and his wits. (Afghan Service)

Protests Spread Across Iran

Iranians by the hundreds sent RFE/RL's Iranian Service, Radio Farda, video documentation that often contained messages rarely heard in public before of massive protests that occurred throughout the country as 2017 came to a close and 2018 began. (Radio Farda)

Science Teacher Pavel Viktor, Odessa’s Accidental YouTube Star

Pavel Viktor, a science teacher in Odesa, Ukraine, started posting his lectures on YouTube for absent students. He never expected the videos to gain millions of views beyond his classroom. (Current Time TV)

Armenia's Sarkisian Arrives For, Then Abandons Negotiations With Nikol Pashinian

Millions of Armenians worldwide tuned in to the RFE/RL Armenian Service’s live video coverage of massive opposition protests in April that forced Prime Minister (and former President) Serzh Sarkisian from power. In this clip, Sarkisian arrives at Yerevan’s Marriott Hotel for negotiations with Nikol Pashinian on April 21, only to abandon negotiations just minutes later. Two days later, Sarkisian was out of a job. (Armenian Service)

Private Hell: A Mother’s Crusade For Justice

The death of a private in the Belarusian Army in 2017 was attributed to suicide, but his mother did not believe it, and her crusade for justice has led to new scrutiny of cases of alleged military suicides. (Belarus Service)

One President Putin, Two Interviews

Over the course of two days this summer, Putin gave two interviews -- one to Austrian public TV, in which he was heavily challenged, and one to Chinese state TV, in which he was treated with fawning deference. (Current Time TV)

Georgian Activist, Kyrgyz Pop Star Take On Harassment

A Georgian human rights activist compares notes on feminism with a Kyrgyz pop singer who made a splash in Kyrgyzstan with her provocative video. (Georgian Service)

Serbian Teens Play War Games At Russian Paramilitary Camp

Thirty teenagers from Serbia traveled to Russia to attend the International Military Patriotic Youth Camp. The camp is run by an ultranationalist group called E.N.O.T. Corp, whose military trainers teach kids how to find their way in the woods, handle weapons, and prepare for the possibility of war. (Balkan Service)

Female Stunt Rider Saddles Up For World Nomad Games

Nineteen-year-old equestrian Diana Ashyrbaeva is one of just a few women who proved themselves on horseback at the World Nomad Games. (Kyrgyz Service)

The Ice-Skating Babushka Of Baikal

When this 76-year-old Russian pensioner needs to herd her cows, she skates across the frozen waters of Lake Baikal to find them. (Current Time TV)

Three Religions, One Bosnian Army

Muslims, Croats and Serbs serve together in the Bosnian military, which accommodates the religious practices of the country’s three main faiths. (Balkan Service)