Tapdig Ferhadoglu, VOA's stringer in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku, accepted the award on behalf of the service in a July 8 ceremony attended by leaders of the country's major political parties as well as representatives of local and international groups.
In a letter congratulating VOA, Shahla Bayat, director of the Union of Journalists, said that her organization wanted to recognize the "professionalism" of the Azerbaijani service.
Speaking about the award, VOA Director David Jackson said, "This honor reaffirms what our listeners in Azerbaijan have known since our Azerbaijani broadcasts went on the air in 1982: VOA has consistently presented fair and balanced news to that important Caucasus nation."
The independent Azerbaijani Union of Journalists Without Borders conducts an annual survey among political parties, representatives of foreign companies, as well as journalists, human rights groups, teachers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the state of the media in Azerbaijan. Based on the results of the survey, annual awards are presented in several categories of media, including "Most Objective Radio Station." The Union of Journalists is not affiliated with the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders organization.
VOA's Azerbaijani service currently broadcasts for 30 minutes a day on shortwave and FM radio along with a weekday (Monday through Friday) television news round-up broadcast on ANS, the leading news network in Azerbaijan.
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 1,000 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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