Radio Free Asia Features Recognized at 2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards

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The Mandarin Service’s “Gray Rhino” series details various looming challenges faced by China’s financial and government sectors.

WASHINGTON – Radio Free Asia (RFA) received honors for two news features at last night’s 2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards, an annual juried competition recognizing achievements in broadcast media. RFA’s Mandarin Service won a Silver Medal in the News Features category for its “Gray Rhino” series, a set of short videos focused on China’s financial sector and its risks for ordinary citizens. RFA’s Korean Service’s “North Korean Refugees in Canada” was a finalist in the same category.

“These Radio Free Asia features both take a hard look at important phenomena and human experiences otherwise ignored in Chinese and North Korean media,” said Libby Liu, President of RFA. “RFA Mandarin’s Gray Rhino video series brings awareness to our audiences in China of the under-reported risks and landmines in the Chinese economy at a time when state-controlled media is pushing out misleading information. Chinese citizens themselves are experiencing first-hand the impact of economic insecurity, unemployment, corporate closures, and empty new housing stock.

“RFA Korean continues to share the powerful stories and sacrifices of those who faced enormous risks and danger to flee North Korea’s repressive conditions to make new lives for themselves elsewhere.

“RFA welcomes this great recognition at the New York Festivals Radio Awards for these features from our Korean and Mandarin Services.”

Released in February 2019, when many Chinese households were beginning to feel the negative effects of China’s economic instability, RFA Mandarin’s “Gray Rhino” series took an in-depth look at major issues plaguing China’s financial system, such as bad debt in the financial and government sectors, and the Chinese real estate bubble. With the series, the Mandarin Service’s digital team provided clear, easy-to-understand analyses of complex issues that are not only neglected in Chinese domestic media, but also often left difficult to understand. As of June 2019, the series had about 375,000 views on YouTube.

The Korean Service’s “North Korean Refugees in Canada” series was made up of three special reports, each of which highlighted different aspects of North Korean defectors’ experiences seeking refugee status in Canada. The series discussed the denial of refugee status to the North Korean defectors, gave practical advice for refugees from experts, and showed how North Korean refugees have adapted to life and changes in Canada.

Other winners at this year’s New York Festivals Radio Awards included CBS, the BBC, Al Jazeera, NPR, and Vox. Documentaries from RFA’s Khmer and Mandarin Services also received honors at the 2019 New York Festivals TV and Film Awards earlier this year.

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