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24 September 2014
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BBC World Service wins top Commonwealth Broadcasting Association honour and commendation from Tony Blair

On 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 country.

"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 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.



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