An RFE/RL Armenian Service report led to a pledge by the Armenian government to follow through on the promise that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian gave to residents of a local village more than two months ago.
Sixteen-year-old Ali Haider, who has been campaigning for the past six years for the return of his missing father, went missing himself on June 17 after Pakistani intelligence agencies conducted a midnight raid of his home in Balochistan’s port city of Gwadar. While mainstream media did not cover the story, RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal published the news on all its platforms, adding context through interviews with the vice president of Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), Abdul Qadeer Baloch, Balochistan’s Home Minister, Ziaullah Longo, a political analyst, a human rights activist, and a representative of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission. During Mashaal’s June 20 interview with Minister Longo, he promised that he would do everything in his power to recover the boy.
A May 13 RFE/RL Tajik Service report helped a single mother of three children suffering from acute hematological diseases secure free blood components from the Tajik National Blood Research Center through the end of the year following a 20% increase in blood plasma prices on May 1. After the Service published its report, Tajik Health Ministry officials visited the family and examined the children.
RFE/RL Tajik Service changes a man’s life and drives digital engagement despite being blocked in Tajikistan
RFE/RL Tajik Service reporting helped a Dushanbe resident regain his house after 13 years of fighting with unfair judges and red tape. The resident, Umarali Safarov, told RFE/RL on April 19, as part of a video report in which he showed his letters spread out on the carpet, that “I’ve sent 300 letters to the President, asked 200 times for help from the Parliament, spoke to the Ombudsman 28 times, but could not get justice. Now I’m on a list to talk with President Emomali Rahmon and his son, Dushanbe mayor Rustam Emomali.” After the report was published and received significant attention on the Service’s website and across social media, Tajikistan’s Supreme Court on May 8 ended the 13 year long saga, ruling in favor of Safarov. After the trial, Safarov thanked the Tajik Service for making a positive impact in his life.
On May 27, Current Time Digital published a long-form story in which an anonymous 37-year-old female fire station dispatcher in Chechnya shares how police responded to her allegation of attempted rape by her boss. The woman claims that the police scoffed at her story, questioning why she, a divorced woman, had wanted a job in the first place, and stopped short of pressing charges against her for false testimony. A human rights lawyer interviewed by Current Time described the situation as typical of the delayed official reaction to women who speak out about sexual wrongdoing by men in this conservative Russian republic.
Following a May 13 RFE/RL Turkmen Service report on an acute shortage of insulin and other life-saving medications in Ashgabat and other parts of Turkmenistan, the Central Pharmacy in Ashgabat resumed sales of insulin. A Turkmen Service correspondent spoke to several diabetes patients who expressed gratitude to RFE/RL for the much awaited relief.
The Maghreb Voice’s report, “Victims of Incest in Morocco” was named as a finalist at the New York Festival’s Television and Film Awards in the category of Best Digital News-Short Report. “Victims of Incest in Morocco,” exposes the sensitive subject of young girls that were molested and raped by their fathers, brothers and uncles. In the report, these (now adult) women tell their deeply personal stories about the disbelief and horror the felt as children, as well as the lack of support from other family members and the community. One woman interviewed spoke about her husband molesting her daughter and her strong desire to take her children and leave. Until she realized she and her children had nowhere to go and they all had to stay with her husband. For some women, the shame of incest leads them to feel that they have no way to escape, except suicide.
RFE/RL’s Afghan Service continues to successfully engage local communities with its coverage. On April 4, the Service interviewed young Afghan artist Sediqullah Sedaqat, who revealed that he was forced to leave school due to his family’s economic problems. Following the interview, Sedaqat was invited to the Afghan President’s office and on April 25, a spokesperson for President Ashraf Ghani tweeted photos of Sedaqat with the President, noting that Ghani “pledged to pay for [Sedaqat’s] family’s expenses from his personal account so he can return to school.”
Feature Desk radio stringer Heidi Chang won first place in the category of Feature Reporting at the June 29 annual awards dinner of the Society of Professional Journalists in Hawaii. The winning entry was an obituary for Tyrus Wong, the Chinese-American animator who created the Disney character Bambi. Editor Faith Lapidus was named as co-winner. The judges’ comment read: “This is a really lovely obituary with nice sound and a wide range of voices explaining the artist’s impact.”
Voice of America’s Immigration Unit takes first place honors in the Chesapeake Press Broadcaster’s Association annual awards show
Voice of America’s Immigration Unit took first place honors in the Chesapeake Press Broadcaster’s Association annual awards show for its reporting on immigration in 2017. The multimedia online report “2017 Immigration Year in Review” is a comprehensive look at U.S. immigration policy and covers a wide range of topics from the administration’s proposed travel ban, to the status of “dreamers,” to President Trump’s promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to curb illegal immigration. The four person unit consists of Aline Barros, Ramon Taylor, Victoria Macchi, and is led by editor, Molly McKitterick.
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