RFA names new Executive Editor, Managing Editor following retirement of veteran journalist
Washington, D.C. — Radio Free Asia (RFA)’s President Bay Fang has named Min Mitchell to the post of Executive Editor following the retirement of head of editorial and programming Parameswaran Ponnudurai. Mitchell will oversee RFA’s company-wide editorial operations, including its nine language services and online affiliate BenarNews, which together serve the populations of 11 countries in Asia. Nadia Tsao, formerly RFA Mandarin Director, will replace Mitchell as the Managing Editor for East Asia.
“Radio Free Asia’s incisive brand of journalism is powered by the incredible work and bravery of its reporters. Min Mitchell and Nadia Tsao are two longtime journalists who understand that implicitly,” said Fang. “Min’s proven editorial leadership and strategic vision will be key to RFA’s success, as we look to the future on our 25th anniversary year. Nadia has been pivotal in RFA Mandarin’s coverage on Hong Kong and reshaping the service’s programming to meet audience needs. I commend Param for his tireless service and dedication that have helped raise RFA to new levels of journalistic excellence during his tenure. We at RFA wish Param the best for his well-deserved retirement.”
“For 25 years, Radio Free Asia’s independent and trusted reporting has been essential to bring to light so many critical but underreported stories in China, Burma, North Korea, and throughout Asia,” Mitchell said. “It is a great honor to lead the newsrooms of RFA and BenarNews, whose journalists continually set a high standard of courage, dedication, and excellence in search of the truth.”
“As a journalist working in Taiwan and the United States for 35 years, I deeply appreciate the power of credible, independent journalism to empower audiences,” Tsao said. “I am honored by this opportunity. For people in China and North Korea, and Asian countries under authoritarian rule, RFA is needed more than ever.”
Mitchell was hired by RFA in February 2017 as Managing Director for East Asia. Under her leadership, RFA’s East Asia services have led coverage on the mass detention of Uyghurs, the dismantling of freedoms in Hong Kong, and abuses of the Kim Jong Un regime. They have also won numerous awards, including two National Murrow Awards. Mitchell recently shepherded the creation of RFA’s innovative new digital news magazine, Wainao | WhyNot, which aims to engage younger Mandarin speakers around the world in an open, informed dialogue on banned and censored topics in the Chinese information space. Prior to joining RFA, Mitchell covered U.S. politics and global affairs in Washington and New York for several major Chinese-language news organizations, including Taiwan Television, where she served as the organization’s D.C. bureau chief and one of the network’s leading news anchors.
Nadia Tsao, who has served as the head of RFA’s Mandarin Service since 2018, will replace Mitchell as the Managing Editor for East Asia, with editorial responsibility for the Mandarin, Cantonese, Uyghur, Tibetan and Korean Services. Before joining RFA, Tsao was the Washington Bureau Chief for The Liberty Times of Taiwan and a contributor to the Voice of America.
Ponnudurai, whose career in journalism began in 1974, first joined RFA as its English News Director in 2010, before being promoted to its head of editorial and programming operations. Param also served as Acting President of the organization for periods in 2019 and 2020. He was previously a journalist with Agence-France Presse (AFP) for 20 years, serving in various senior roles in Asia and Washington, DC, where he covered the State Department and White House. He was honored with France’s Chevalier of the National Order of Merit for journalism in 2002.
This year RFA celebrates its 25th anniversary, as its first news broadcast to people in China aired at the end of September 1996.
Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting and publishing online news, information, and commentary in 9 East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. RFA’s broadcasts seek to promote the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” RFA is funded by an annual grant from USAGM.
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