World Service wins top Commonwealth Broadcasting Association honour
and commendation from Tony Blair
the same day that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair MP, paid tribute
in the House of Commons to the BBC World Service for doing "a
magnificent job", senior international broadcasters throughout
the Commonwealth awarded their most prestigious honour to the Head
of the BBC's Persian and Pashto language services.
Baqer Moin received the 2002 Elizabeth R award for "exceptional
contribution to public service broadcasting" at the Commonwealth
Broadcasting Association (CBA) conference in Manchester last night.
This was one of two awards for BBC World Service on the night.
The CBA's executive said: "After September 11, the importance
of information, analysis and context became critical for all of
us as we tried to make sense of what had happened. But, we were
lucky, we had many sources of information available to us. The Afghan
people, who became the centre of the ensuing storm, had no credible
national newspapers and no television, only the BBC World Service's
Persian and Pashto services, their key information source across
"The BBC's impact in the Afghanistan region owes much to the
leadership, for 25 years, of one of its greatest public servants,
Baqer Moin, who is respected for his insight, authority and understanding
and who is committed to the promotion of freedom, liberty, open
communication, trust and enriching people's lives. A very worthy
recipient of this significant award."
Following September 11 the Pashto and Persian service extended broadcasts
to Afghanistan and the surrounding region and improved audibility
for listeners with a new MW frequency from the Gulf.
In June 2001 the Persian service provided extensive coverage of
the Iranian election.
Baqer Moin, 54, joined BBC World Service in 1976 and was appointed
Head of the Persian service in 1990.
The BBC World Service Trust also received a Commonwealth Broadcasting
Association award for Kadwal/Panajho, its lifeline radio programmes
for children, which were broadcast to Afghanistan on the BBC World
Service Pashto and Persian services. The programmes, which began
in November, gave children displaced by the conflict in Afghanistan
the chance to tell their own stories, provided health and survival
messages, and entertainment.
Mark Byford, Director BBC World Service and Global News, said: "The
awards are a fantastic achievement for Baqer, the Persian and Pashto
services, and BBC World Service itself. BBC World Service has made
a strong editorial response to the events of September 11 and is
firmly committed to our public service values of accurate, impartial
journalism. This is having an impact around the world. We are extremely
proud of both these awards."
At Prime Minister's questions in the House of Commons yesterday,
Tony Blair MP said: "I would join the MP [Eric Illsley] in
paying tribute to the World Service which does a magnificent job.
I saw for myself in the interviews I did with Pashto radio how hugely
important they were in getting a message through to ordinary people
in that country."
Three weeks ago Hamid Karzai, leader of Afghanistan's Interim Government,
highlighted the impact of BBC World Service in Afghanistan when
he said: "When I have been in the villages of central Afghanistan,
people are listening to it. When I've been in Kandahar people are
listening to it
and in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif. It is the
main source of information for Afghanistan."
This has been an excellent year for recognition of BBC World Service.
Some of the services most recent awards include:
BBC World Service, together with BBC World, received the prestigious
George Polk joint Television and Radio Reporting Award in the USA
for "authoritative, wide-ranging accounts of the attacks on
America and the war in Afghanistan" earlier this year.
In April Global Business, the BBC World Service current affairs
programme, won the Wincott Award for "Best Business Radio Programme
2001" at the Broadcast and Press Awards.
BBC World Service's website at www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice
was judged "the best radio website in the world" at the
prestigious Webby Awards.
Orla Guerin, a frequent voice on BBC World Service reporting from
the Jerusalem bureau, was named "Broadcasting Journalist of
the year" by the London Press Club.
Notes to Editors
BBC World Service Trust is a non-government organisation established
by BBC World Service which promotes development through innovative
use of the media.
BBC World Service broadcasts in 43 languages including English.
BBC World Service is funded through Grant-in-Aid from the Foreign
Office. This year's grant (2002/3) is £200.9 million
A new medium wave frequency launched in October 2001 broadcasts
on 1314 kHz and supplements medium wave broadcasts on 1413kHz to
Afghanistan and the region.