Search RFE/RL

RFE/RL Journalist Recognized for Promoting Bloggers’ Rights in Iran

(WASHINGTON, DC) RFE/RL Radio Farda web editor Fred Petrossians won a prestigious new media award today from ThinkSocial for an internet-based project he co-founded that seeks to spread awareness of bloggers’ rights in Iran and other countries with unfree media.

The ThinkSocial Award was given to OR318: Remembering Omid Reza, an online movement created in the wake of the March 2009 death of Iranian blogger Omid Reza in Tehran’s Evin Prison. ThinkSocial recognized OR318 for “demonstrating truly innovative and courageous leadership in the use of social media for public purposes.”

“This award is a tribute to the memory of Omid Reza and all of the other bloggers and journalists detained, beaten or killed around the world for simply doing their jobs,” Petrossians said. “We hope this recognition inspires more people to speak out for freedom of speech in closed societies.”

Boasting one of the least free media environments in the world, Iran ranks 185th out of 195 in Freedom House’s “Freedom of the Press 2009” report, behind countries like Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Tajikistan. In the wake of mass public protests following June’s disputed presidential elections, the Iranian government stepped up its efforts to control internet services and other forms of electronic communication, including broadcasts from Radio Farda, which remain illegal in the country.

ThinkSocial is a new nonprofit supported by the Paley Center for Media, which aims “to advance the use of social media to address society’s most pressing challenges.” This is the first year the group has handed out its awards, which recognize innovative and impactful use of social media for public good.

About OR318
OR 318 is a private venture seeking to spread awareness about Omid Reza, an Iranian blogger who died while detained in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison on March18, 2009. OR318 aims to call attention to larger issues of bloggers’ rights as journalists and to serve as a memorial using various web-based social media outlets. The project’s motto is “Let the first blogger who died in prison be the last.”

About Radio Farda
Radio Farda provides objective and accurate news and information to counter state censorship and ideology-based media coverage in Iran. Radio Farda’s website receives over 8 million page views every month.