Farshid Manafi, host of Radio Farda's popular satire show "Pasfarda
," has been named "International Radio Personality of the Year
" by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB).
"I am honored to be recognized by the AIB," Manafi said. "I dedicate this award to the people of Iran who, while struggling for freedom in the face of a brutal dictatorship, still manage to find time to laugh."
Airing every weeknight on Radio Farda, Manafi -- who like all of his Radio Farda colleagues is officially banned from the Iranian airwaves -- uses his show to skewer political and social mores in the country, and to occasionally lampoon its leaders.
With over 500,000 weekly listeners in Iran and a social network of nearly 55,000 Facebook followers, Manafi has a direct line to his fans. The result is a wildly popular show that engages listeners and taps into their most relevant interests.
"This award is a testament to Farshid, his Radio Farda colleagues, and to the power of satire," RFE/RL President Steve Korn said. "It also speaks to the resolve of millions of Iranians who battle pervasive government censorship, harassment, and intimidation in search of objective news and information, or sometimes just a good joke."
"Pasfarda" has received several accolades this year. In June, it won two silver medals
at the 2011 New York Festivals Radio Program & Promotion Awards, where Manafi was recognized for "Best Announcer Presentation," the first time an Iranian radio personality won this award. The show itself was named "Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program." In March, "Pasfarda" celebrated its 200th episode
with a special program to ring in the Persian New Year, Nowruz.
Also appearing on the short list of AIB's top nominees was Radio Azattyk, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service
, a contender for Best Investigative Radio Documentary. Janyl Chytyrbaeva's in-depth report, "Invisible Women of Osh
," (note: story and video are in Kyrgyz) focused on the victims of gang rape who were victimized during ethnic violence in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Chytyrbaeva's report received a "High Commendation" from the AIB.
Established in 1993, the AIB is an association covering international TV, radio, online and mobile broadcasting. The AIB International Media Excellence Awards -- the "AIBs" -- are held annually in London.
About Radio Farda
Radio Farda, RFE/RL's Persian-language media outlet, is one of the few remaining sources of uncensored news and information for people in Iran. Despite severe government censorship, Radio Farda's website receives nearly 20 million page views every month. It broadcasts news, features, music, and other programs in Persian 24 hours a day.
RFE/RL is a private, independent international news organization whose programs -- radio, Internet, and television -- reach influential audiences in 21 countries, including Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the republics of Central Asia. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).