Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

Foreign correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Cairo and covers the Arab world for NPR from the Middle East to North Africa. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In 2006, Nelson opened the NPR Kabul Bureau. During the following three and a half years, she gave listeners an in-depth sense of life inside Afghanistan, from the increase in suicides among women in a tribal society that sees them as second class citizens, to the growing interference of Iran and Pakistan in Afghan affairs and the impact of Western policies in the region. For her coverage of Afghanistan, she won a Peabody award, Overseas Press Club award and Gracie in 2010.

Nelson came to NPR in 2006, after spending more than two decades as a newspaper reporter. She served as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief from 2002 to 2005 where she specialized in covering Iran. As a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Nelson was sent on extended assignment to Iran and Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Nelson spent three years as an editor and reporter for Newsday and was part of the team that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for covering the crash of TWA flight 800. She also spent time at the the Orange County Register covering Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari, and German. She is married to long-time reporter Erik Nelson and they have a son.




Mon June 20, 2011

NATO Strike May Have Killed Libyan Civilians

NATO says one of its airstrikes in the Libyan capital of Tripoli went astray and may have killed civilians. The military alliance said the errant strike early Sunday may have been due to "a weapons system failure." Libyan officials say nine civilians were killed, including two children.


Fri June 10, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Libyan State TV Talk Show Not The Usual Propaganda

Yosif A. Shakeir is host of Ashem al-Watan (or "Hope of the Nation"), which is seen on the Libyan state TV channel. The show is using the airwaves in Libya to keep hope for Moammar Gadhafi's regime alive.
Johnathan Blakley NPR

There's a war Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is waging in addition to the one against Libyan rebels and NATO: a propaganda war on the airwaves. His goal is to persuade Libyans to support him, and his top commander in that effort is a U.S.-educated political scientist.

The Libyan pundit hosts a nightly show broadcast from Tripoli that he claims is styled after some of America's most popular television programs. The show, called Ashem al-Watan, or "Hope of the Nation," isn't your usual Libyan television fare.

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Sat May 28, 2011
Middle East

Egypt Border Opening Brings Relief To Palestinians

Egypt reopened its border with the Gaza Strip on Saturday, ending a four-year-old blockade. The move brought badly needed relief to the Palestinian territory's people, but it could deepen Egypt's rift with Israel.


Mon May 23, 2011
Middle East

Saudis Impatient For King's Promised Reforms

Saudi King Abdullah months ago promised changes in what analysts say was a bid to quiet growing frustrations in the desert kingdom. But now, much of the king's words are ringing hollow with many Saudis who say they see little change.


Sat May 21, 2011
Middle East

Egypt, Uncensored: New TV Station Tackles Injustice

The newly founded Egyptian news channel 25TV broadcasts on their website, In this image from a show called Hashtag, the host discusses the Twitter hashtag #FreeTarekShalaby, which began after Shalaby, an Egyptian activist, was arrested during protests outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo. He was later released.

The revolution in Egypt can be seen now on the country's satellite television network in the form of a 24-hour news and entertainment channel. 25TV's programming is not always polished, but it is honest and uncensored — at least most of the time.

Its approach to coverage is unique in a country where the government has strictly controlled the news for decades. In fact, staffers joke that their goal is to do all the stories that Egyptian state television won't touch.

And while Egyptian television hosts are usually quite suave, 25TV's Seif Khirfan is not.

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