Voice of America’s dedicated press freedom coverage that includes stories and other collaborative projects produced by VOA reporters covering the topic around the world, was presented with the Association for International Broadcasting first ever Media Freedom Award.
In presenting the award to VOA in a virtual ceremony on Friday, November 12, AIB host and Al Jazeera English presenter Kamahl Santamaria said the jury looked at how broadcasters actively cover or promote media freedom, and how the shortlisted networks approach media freedom, considering among other attributes their impact and resources. The AIB media freedom award is presented to a network that actively covered, promoted and protected media freedom. VOA was selected for its "clear and long term commitment to the promotion of media freedom,” Santamaria said.
“Congratulations to our dedicated press freedom editor, Jessica Jerreat, and all our intrepid reporters that contribute to our coverage of media freedom, an important topic of extreme significance for VOA’s reporting,” said Acting VOA Director Yolanda Lόpez. “Voice of America is committed to press freedom around the world. However, many VOA journalists work in countries that restrain free speech and independent journalism. It is very gratifying that the AIB awards jury recognized VOA’s efforts to highlight the importance of the issue and expand our journalism to cover it extensively.”
In its winning entry the Voice of America entered several examples of its dedicated coverage of the challenges facing media globally through its Press Freedom page, including: “Turkey: Breaking the Silence,” a documentary by executive producer Beth Mendelson and VOA’s Turkish service that explores the erosion of press freedom in Turkey under the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; “Can Afghanistan’s Free Press Survive?” a multimedia project looking at the gains and potential loses for Afghanistan's media ahead of the U.S. troop pullout, with lead reporting by Ayesha Tanzeem and contributions from the VOA Afghan service; VOA's ongoing coverage of Myanmar's crackdown on media since the coup, with reporting by Esha Grover and Tommy Walker and the VOA Burmese service; “Secondary Targets,” a multimedia project looking at how foreign governments target the families of exiled reporters with lead reporter Sirwan Kajjo and artwork by Brian Williamson.