Today, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) celebrated its 21st annual David Burke Distinguished Journalism Awards ceremony. This year, for the first time, in addition to recognizing excellent reporting and coverage, the agency honored accomplishments made in providing broad, safe and secure access to that content.
“The brave and remarkable professionals honored today have demonstrated their commitment to reporting the truth and making sure audiences can safely access that coverage,” said USAGM CEO Amanda Bennett. “These individuals are an inspiration for us all as we continue our work to support freedom and democracy.”
This year’s David Burke Distinguished Journalism awardees:
- Voice of America’s Afghan Service, along with Ayesha Tanzeem, for their comprehensive body of work covering the 2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
- The Afghan Crisis Response Team from USAGM’s Office of Technology, Services, and Innovation for their successful efforts to ensure access to VOA and RFE/RL radio and TV content to Afghans following the Taliban takeover. This team includes Adam Gartner, Erich Schwabe, Gregory Gibbs, James Kresge, Joan Mower, Ken Claerbout, and Neil Kennedy.
- Aleh Hruzdzilovich, Andrey Kuznechyk, and Ihar Losik (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Belarus Service) for defending the right of their fellow Belarusians to free media and free expression in the face of physical threats and police violence sanctioned by the government of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
- Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, host of Lawton Libre on the Office of Cuba Broadcasting’s Radio Martí. Dr. Biscet is a civil activist who has spent nearly a decade behind bars. Amnesty International declared Dr. Biscet a prisoner of conscience in 2003; his radio program, Lawton Libre, reaches its audience in Cuba through Radio Marti broadcasts, and through our digital and social media platforms.
- The Middle East Broadcasting Networks’ Washington Team, for its comprehensive coverage of the January 6 Capitol Riots and for standing their ground despite threats to the media. This team includes Kalyl Bentwila, Hisham Bourar, Abdelrahman Elbardisi, Wafaa Jibai, Luis Munoz, James Norris, and Elizabeth Zosso.
- Nat Kretchun, Senior Vice President of the Open Technology Fund, oversees programmatic operations including projects that advance internet freedom by supporting the research, development, implementation, and maintenance of anti-censorship, security, and privacy-enhancing technologies.
- Joongsok Oh, Radio Free Asia’s Seoul Bureau Chief, for leading the Korean Service’s breakthrough reporting, which gave a rare insight into on-the-ground developments and life inside North Korea, the world’s most restricted media environment.