Washington, D.C., July 27, 2005 -- Voice of America (VOA) journalists William Chien and Patricia Nunan were named winners of the 2004 Cowan Award for Humanitarian Reporting at a ceremony held on Tuesday at VOA.
Chien, a journalist in VOA's Mandarin Service, was recognized for his television documentary "China's AIDS Villages," which reported on the plight of villagers in China's Henan Province where nearly one-third of the population was infected with HIV/AIDS after selling blood to the government. Despite resistance from the Henan Provincial government, Chien exposed the population's suffering and raised awareness of the HIV/AIDS crisis in China.
Cowan Award judge Michael Freedman, Vice President for Communications at The George Washington University, described the piece as "among the most dramatic and significant the judges have ever seen." He added, "This piece needs to be shown in the U.S."
Nunan, VOA's New Delhi correspondent, won in the radio category for "India/Migrant Workers," which tracked the story of Indian workers who were tricked into performing hazardous jobs in the war-torn regions of Iraq. For three months, Nunan reported first-hand experiences from workers who said they were forced into dangerous and sometimes deadly work in a foreign land.
Award judge Enrique Durand, Executive Copyeditor of CNN en Espanol, described Nunan's piece as "balanced, well-sourced and very informative." He went on to say that Nunan's reporting clearly conveyed the dilemmas of the migrant workers and raised awareness about international worker abuse during wartime.
The privately endowed Cowan Award was established in 1995 in honor of Louis and Geoffrey Cowan, the second and twenty-second directors of the Voice of America respectively. The award is presented annually to VOA radio and television broadcasters for distinguished humanitarian reporting and comes with a $2,500 prize.
Gene Mater of The Freedom Forum also served on the outside panel of judges for the award with Durand and Freedman. The entries were reviewed for their significance, integrity, clarity, and writing, as well as production quality.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English.
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