Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cuba Broadcasting staffer wins journalism prize

José Alpizar
Office of Cuba Broadcasting employee José Alpizar has been awarded the David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award, the Broadcasting Board of Governors announced today.
The awards are "for exceptional integrity, bravery, and originality in reporting."
BBG Chairman Jeff Shell said in a statement:
Our 2015 Burke Award winners represent the best of U.S. international media. These brave men and women have tackled issues of critical importance in some of the most dangerous locations on earth.
BBG CEO John Lansing said:
Every day our journalists overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to bring exceptional reporting to audiences in media-restricted countries. It is with honor and humility that we recognize these outstanding individuals who risk their livelihoods to provide accurate, uncensored information to those who need it most.
Below is background on Alpizar's work, according to the BBG:
Strict media controls in Cuba have resulted in the creation of an underground, secret distribution network for uncensored information. The OCB's José Alpizar champions this vital "hand-to-hand" network. Working directly with Marti reporters and producers and with a list of contacts in Cuba yearning for unbiased news, Mr. Alpizar has, in just two years, grown a small DVD duplication program to a complex distribution system that today boasts 15,000 DVDs a month handed out door-to-door and on street corners across Cuba. In addition to DVDs, Mr. Alpizar has led the way to distributing flash drives carrying gigabytes of not just Marti audio and video content, but also information on research and development of WiFi and over-the-air television signal broadcasts inside of Cuba free from government control. With his transmission engineering skills and unwavering dedication, Mr. Alpizar has singlehandedly nurtured a network of dedicated Cuban citizens to disseminate Radio and Television Marti content throughout the island.
Other winners this year include:

  • The Staff of Azerbaijani Service's Baku Bureau, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, for their revealing investigative reporting in the face of beatings, harassment and even forced closure by the Azeri government.
  • The Producers of Alhurra's Delusional Paradise, from the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, for their compelling and powerful series that provides a voice for the living victims of violent extremism.
  • Shohret Hoshur, from the Uyghur Service at Radio Free Asia, for his excellent and exclusive reporting on Xinjiang and the Uyghur nation, despite threats to family members in China.
  • Ibrahim Ahmed, from Voice of America's Hausa Service, for his intrepid reporting from Boko Haram targeted territory in Northeastern Nigeria.

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