RFE/RL Moldovan Service Director Oana Serafim was awarded one of Romania’s highest national honors at a ceremony held at the Romanian embassy in Prague May 12.
Romanian Ambassador to the Czech Republic Daniela Gitman presented Serafim with the National Order for Faithful Service of the Rank of Knight in recognition of her contributions as a journalist to Romanian society. The honor, which is awarded annually by the president of Romania, was decreed by then president Traian Basescu in November 2014.
Serafim joined RFE/RL’s Romanian Service, which also broadcast to Moldova, in 1995 as a broadcast journalist, and was later named the service’s director in 2003. The Romanian service closed in 2008 and was succeeded by the Moldovan Service, with Serafim as director.
Before joining RFE/RL, Serafim worked for the BBC Romanian Service in London and at the Romanian National Film Archive in Bucharest.
RFE/RL Editor-in-Chief Nenad Pejic praised Serafim’s passion, principles, knowledge, and bravery in challenging authorities. Her recalcitrant nature, Pejic quipped, makes for both a good journalist and a good employee who keeps him on his toes.
“It’s not always easy to be her boss, but it’s a pleasure,” he said.
Former RFE/RL President Jeff Gedmin, currently at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., also gave remarks at the ceremony. He lauded Serafim's deep dedication to service on behalf of her colleagues and her audience in Moldova and "the fearless nature of her independent intellect, and the humility she brings to everything she does.”
Serafim is one of several former RFE/RL Romanian Service journalists to be recognized for their work by the president with the award, and she thanked colleagues past and present for their dedication to promoting democratic values by providing objective news and analysis.
“We’re here to celebrate our common effort, to try to reinvent once more the powerful weapons that we journalists have: our microphones, our pens, and our videos,” said Serafim.“We should never waste the power we have, and never forget our duty to build trust and to empower the powerless people in this confusing world, which sometimes merely mimics democracy, freedom of expression, and the rule of law.”
RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service provides news and information in Romanian and Russian via Radio, TV, and web, and is the most popular international radio broadcaster in the country. The service continues to adapt to the changing political realities in the region to meet audience needs, most recently launching at 10-minute TV news program, Clear and Simple, which airs in both Romanian and Russian. In 2014 the service doubled its special programming to the separatist Transdniester region and programing in Russian in response to events in Ukraine.