The Bureau for International Reporting

Winter Newsletter

Three continents visited and seven stories produced in 2012... read on for details and happy holidays to all!

Fault Lines of Faith

Our Fault Lines of Faith series debuted on our partner PBS NewsHour with a report from Southern Thailand, where a Malay Muslim insurgency has upended life for both Muslims and Buddhists in these often-neglected four southernmost provinces. 5000 people have been killed in almost daily attacks, which show no sign of ending. It is one of the world's most under-covered stories and the BIR was pleased to bring the topic to American audiences.

In July, the series continued with a look at Northern Ireland's "marching season". 14 years after the signing of an historic peace agreement, the region is largely stable. Yet under the surface sectarian divisions remain strong and tensions come to a boil every summer when Unionist Orange Order parades pass through Republican neighborhoods. The U.S. helped broker Northern Ireland's peace and its preservation remains in our interest.

Finally, just last week the BIR aired its third story from the series: a look at the continuing impact of 2002's communal violence in Gujarat, India and the political rise of the chief minister who was in charge when the carnage took place. 10 years later there is finally some justice for the crimes, but also many unanswered questions and a debate between priorities of human rights and economic development.

Fault Lines of Faith is a major two-year reporting project the BIR is producing with support from the Henry Luce Foundation. Stay tuned for three more stories from the series in 2013!

The Burma Spring

In March, the BIR was fortunate to receive rare journalist visas to report from Burma during its historic elections. We hit the campaign trail with Aung San Suu Kyi and heard from her optimistic but still wary supporters; we interviewed US Ambassador Derek Mitchell to discuss shifts in US policy at this time of great change in Burma; and, in a second story, we visited newsrooms and nascent political activists testing out their new freedoms. Our Burma series was made possible by support from the Ford Foundation.


The BIR prioritizes taking its reports into the public and policy arenas following its broadcast premieres.

This year's highlights:
-The BIR was honored to speak about its Southern Thailand reporting at the Council on Foreign Relations and screened the story at Harvard University, New York University and the City University of New York;
-Our Burma reporting shared the stage at a panel hosted by the International Center for Journalists;
-Our Liberia reporting from late 2011 was featured at the annual Society for Professional Journalists conference;
-The BIR participated in a day long conference on reporting religion, hosted by Search for Common Ground.

Please contact us if you are interested in hosting a panel discussion or screening of our work. Thanks to the Stanley Foundation for partnering with us on many of these outreach activities over the years.

Cambodia's Search for Justice

Six years after its first visit, The BIR returned to Cambodia for an update on its citizens' quest for justice and concerns that the Khmer Rouge tribunal is being stymied by political interference. The half hour program, which aired on PBS Need to Know in June, included supplemental interviews with author Philip Gourevitch and Sadia Hameed of Human Rights First. This project was made possible by the Compton Foundation.

Secret IRA Archives

A legal battle has erupted over the release of confidential interviews with former combatants of "The Troubles". On behalf of British Law Enforcement, the US Department of Justice has subpoenaed several recordings being held at Boston College, in hopes of solving a 40 year old murder. It's a fascinating case that raises competing interests of US First Amendment law, peace in a still-fragile Northern Ireland, and potential justice for a horrible crime. The BIR covered the story from Ireland, the UK and the United States.

Support Our Work for 2013 and Beyond

We are grateful for the many individual donations we have received throughout 2012 -- and particularly thank those of you who have remained supporters over the years. Please consider making a contribution to support our 2013 productions. We rely on "viewers like you" for this unrestricted income to keep us flexible to respond to breaking news and ethically free of commercial support! All contributions are tax deductible.

What's Next for the BIR?

We are just days away from hitting the road again... this time to Kenya, for a series of reports examining progress and remaining fragilities since that country suffered severe election violence five years ago. Look for these stories in late February / early March. And we'll continue our Fault Lines of Faith series in the spring... locations TBA, but always unexpected and under-covered!
Copyright © 2012 The Bureau for International Reporting, All rights reserved.
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