Radio Free Iraq
, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Arabic language service for Iraqi audiences, has recently been lauded on two occasions for excellence in reporting.
On August 21, provincial authorities in the southern port city of Basra awarded RFI and Basra-based reporter Abdelkarim Al-Amiri with the “Beit Al-Hikma Award for Innovation and Excellence” for their coverage of cultural and social affairs in the province.
“In the past, people were rewarded for singing the praises of the regime and the leader,” said Al-Amiri. “Now it comes in recognition of achievements by creative intellectuals and industrious journalists. RFI shares the sentiment of ordinary Iraqis and responds to their concerns."
The reports noted for distinction included coverage of the reaction of residents of Faw to military presence in their city
, the impact of technology on the rituals of Ramadan
, and exploring how young Basra students spent their summer break.
RFI correspondent Faiqa Rasul Srhan was recognized on September 9 by the cultural attaché for the Iraqi Embassy in Jordan for her extensive coverage of activities within the Iraqi emigrant community there.
"I have been based here in Jordan as a journalist for 15 years, and this is just a further incentive for me to seek more interesting stories for RFI," said Rasul Srhan.
Srhan's award-winning stories include exposure of an art exhibition in Amman
, a youth football training camp
, and how to increase women's participation in politics
According to Refugees International, millions of Iraqis reside outside Iraq’s borders, and RFI’s Broadcast Service Director Sergei Danilochkin says that reaching those who have emigrated is crucial for keeping Iraqis connected with their culture.
“It is great to be a product that reaches those Iraqis not in the country. We appreciate that Iraqis around the world are important for keeping Iraqi intellectual activity alive,” he said.
Dr. Shimran Al-ljli of Beit Al-Hikma, a local government body that supervises cultural activities in Iraq, presented RFI with their certificate of recognition and said that RFI’s independent outlook raises the cultural climate for all Iraqis.
“We respect RFI for its adoption of the issues that create dignity and freedom within Iraq,” Al-ljli said.
-- Rob Peace