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April 26, 2012 — Locke Lord Strategies Partner Mark A. Siegel, a close family friend and colleague of slain Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has been named a winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for documentaries for his collaboration with filmmaker Duane Baughman in the creation of Bhutto. The film explores the life and legacy of Benazir Bhutto as she fought to restore democracy to Pakistan while opposition forces attacked her motives, her family members and, ultimately, took her life.
Siegel was Benazir Bhutto’s speechwriter for 25 years, and together they wrote the internationally best-selling book Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West, which was published just days after her December 2007 assassination. The highly acclaimed film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and was subsequently aired by Independent Lens, an award winning weekly documentary series on PBS.
In a PBS interview taped after the Peabody was announced, Siegel said he and co-producer Baughman knew their film had to tell both sides of the story to be a credible and legitimate portrait of Benazir’s Bhutto amazing life, which ended in a shooting and bombing assassination at the age of 54. Bhutto includes the only recorded interviews with her husband, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, and their three children, and it also includes interviews with opposition forces, most notably former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf, who has subsequently been implicated in her assassination.
Siegel said his friend talked with him many times about the dangers and the threat to her own life that political leadership brought; her father had been assassinated years before. “It was the price she was willing to pay for her people,” Siegel said. “The most important reason that I wanted to do this film was to preserve the historic legacy of Benazir Bhutto. There could not be a higher tribute to our film than to receive a Peabody. We will accept it in honor of Benazir and all of those who died fighting for democracy in Pakistan.”
The 71st Annual Peabody Awards, the oldest awards in broadcasting and considered among the most selective and prestigious in electronic media, will be presented May 21 in New York City. Siegel’s PBS interview can be viewed here: http://beyondthebox.org/bhutto-producer-mark-siegel-reflects-on-benazir-bhutto/.
Siegel, who has a Ph.D. in political science, has been with Locke Lord Strategies for five years and has nearly three decades of experience providing strategic counsel to a broad range of domestic private and public sector clients. He is a longtime Democratic adviser and Washington lobbyist and has represented Pakistan in Washington, D.C., for many years. He has lectured and written on government, politics and Middle East issues around the world.
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