Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

:"This article is about the radio broadcast service. For the R.E.M. song, see Radio Free Europe (song)." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a radio and communications organization funded by the United States Congress, currently residing in Prague, Czech Republic. It was founded in 1949 by the National Committee for a Free Europe. The organization exists today in Europe and the Middle East. It broadcasts more than 1,000 hours per week, in 28 languages, via shortwave, AM, FM and the Internet. RFE/RL's official mission statement is "To promote democratic values and institutions by disseminating factual information and ideas." [http://www.rferl.org/info/mission/169.html] Some observers identified Radio Free Europe as a propaganda outlet of the CIA. [Blum, William. "Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II" pn]

Early history

The National Committee for a Free Europe was founded in June 1949 in New York. Radio Free Europe (RFE) was the broadcasting arm of this organization. The headquarters was established in Munich and it transmitted its first short-wave program on July 4, 1950, to Czechoslovakia.

Radio Free Europe's goal was not simply to ostensibly inform its listeners but to bring about the peaceful demise of the Communist system and the governments of what were known as the satellite nations (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria). Radio Free Europe attempted to fulfill these goals by serving as a surrogate home radio station, an alternative to the controlled and party-dominated domestic press. [Puddington, Arch, "Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003): ix.] RFE was a product of some of the most prominent architects of America's early Cold War strategy, especially those who believed that the Cold War would eventually be fought by political rather than military means, such as George F. Kennan. [Puddington, Arch, "Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003): 7.] American policymakers such as Kennan and John Foster Dulles acknowledged that the Cold War was in its essence a war of ideas. The United States, acting through the CIA, funded a long list of projects to counter the Communist appeal among intellectuals in Europe and the developing world. [Puddington, Arch, "Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003): 10.]

Radio Free Europe was modeled after Radio in the American Sector (RIAS) which began broadcasting in 1946 and was initially a wired radio service for Germans living in the American sector of Berlin. The station had grown to prominence during the 1948 Berlin blockade, and after the blockade RIAS (now broadcast via conventional terrestrial transmitters) evolved into a surrogate home radio service for East Germans. It broadcast news, commentary, and cultural programs that were unavailable in the media of the German Democratic Republic. RIAS was openly financed by the American government and staffed almost entirely by Germans, who worked under a small American management team. The station developed many of the broadcast strategies that Radio Free Europe adopted. [Puddington, Arch, "Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003): 13.]

Though Radio Free Europe enjoyed some support from Civitan International and other civic organizations during the Red Scare, [cite book |last= Armbrester |first= Margaret E. |title= The Civitan Story |year= 1992 |publisher= Ebsco Media |location= Birmingham, AL |pages= 96 ] RFE received most of its funding from the U.S. Congress; until 1971, funds were passed to RFE through the CIA. During the earliest years of Radio Free Europe's existence, the CIA and the U.S. State Department issued broad policy directives, and a system evolved where broadcast policy was determined through negotiation between the CIA, the U.S. State Department, and RFE staff. This system continued until the controversy surrounding Radio Free Europe's broadcasts to Hungary during the 1956 revolt. There is some evidence, however, that the CIA did involve itself in RFE projects at least through the mid-1950s. [Puddington, Arch, "Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty" (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2003): 26-7.] The CIA funding of RFE was not publicly acknowledged until 1971 at which point the organization was rechartered in Newton as a non-profit corporation, oversight was moved to the Board for International Broadcasting (BIB), and the budget was moved to open appropriations.

In 1971 and 1972, Congress passed stop-gap measures to continue funding RFE. In 1973, RFE found a more permanent solution through the Board for International Broadcasting Act of 1973, which created the Board, a public agency to oversee the grants allocated by Congress. The solution had been proposed by President Richard Nixon in 1971 but was fiercely opposed by Sen. J. William Fulbright. Eventually Congress took the advice of a presidential commission appointed by Nixon and chaired by Milton S. Eisenhower.

The Board Act was supposed to act as an authorization bill for funding RFE permanently, but during floor debate, Fulbright got the Senate to agree that it would authorize funds only for fiscal year 1974. Thus the bill was revisited the next two years during its merger with Radio Liberty.

After merger with Radio Liberty

In 1976, RFE was fully merged with a very similar Congress funded anti-communist organization called Radio Liberty (RL, founded in 1951 by the American Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia) and the group name was officially changed to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). During the merger the three Baltic language services were added to the radios.

Soviet authorities regularly attempted to jam RFE/RL broadcasts and these efforts did not end until 1988. From 1985 until 1993 the organization also ran Radio Free Afghanistan.

The collapse of the Soviet Union reduced the budget for RFE/RL: its headquarters were moved to Prague in 1995 and European operations were curtailed (save those of the South Slavic Department). However operations were expanded elsewhere; in 1998 Radio Free Iraq and a Persian service (Radio Farda) were started, in 1999 a service was started in Kosovo, and in 2002 Radio Free Afghanistan was restarted and the Persian Service was incorporated into Radio Farda. In addition, in 1994 the mission of the Board for International Broadcasting was transferred to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

In most cases, listening to RFE in eastern European Communist countries was illegal, and had to be done in secret. Often the governments of these states would electronically jam the transmissions. Also, more 'active' measures were taken to combat the transmissions. In 1965-71 an agent of the Służba Bezpieczeństwa successfully infiltrated the station with an operative, Capt. Andrzej Czechowicz. According to former Voice of America Polish service director Ted Lipien, "Czechowicz is perhaps the most well known communist-era Polish spy who was still an active agent while working at RFE in the late 1960s. Technically, he was not a journalist. As a historian by training, he worked in the RFE’s media analysis service in Munich. After more than five years, Czechowicz returned to Poland in 1971 and participated in propaganda programs aimed at embarrassing Radio Free Europe and the United States government." [Lipien, Ted (23 June 2007), " [http://www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=10038 Old spy scandals still haunting US broadcasters?] ", "Spero News".]

After the collapse of the Soviet Union

After the collapse of the Soviet Union RFE/RL lost much of its raison d'être and the budget has been declining. It moved to Prague and cut some language services in an effort to keep costs down. [ [http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11367040&fsrc=RSS Prague's silent spring] , "Economist".]

Transmitter sites

RFE/RL maintained sizable transmission facilities, with frequent upgrades, in three countries:
# Western Germany, at Lampertheim and Biblis in the Rhine valley and at Holzkirchen, near Munich;
# Spain, at Playa de Pals on the Costa Brava (working from 1958 to 2006); and
# Taiwan, until 1973. Today, only the Lampertheim and Biblis stations survive, as part of the U.S. government's worldwide transmission network. RFE/RL also utilizes a network of several hundred local AM and FM affiliates in the former U.S.S.R.

Radio Liberty sample broadcast

Communism on the Spot

A Publice Service of

Radio Liberty

IN ITS 10th ANNIVERSARY YEAR

the most powerful free voice broadcasting exclusively to Soviet Union

30 EAST 42nd STREET, NEW YORK 17 N.Y. TN-75200

No. 221

COMMUNISM ON THE SPOT. This is _____ speaking for RADIO LIBERTY. Failures in industrial planning continue to be a serious bottleneck to Soviet progress. On the basis of articles in the Soviet press, faulty planning is cutting expected growth to a minimum. Ironically, this state of affairs is not reflected in Soviet Statistics. For example, a 1962 statistical report claimed that the volume of industrial output exceeded by nearly 10% that for a corresponding period last year. How can this discrepancy between statistical claims and the actual situation be explained? Very simply. As in other cases, figures which are of no significance to the national economy are quoted to prove that industrial progress is proceeding as planned. This has been a public service presentation of this station and of RADIO LIBERTY, in its 10th Anniversary Year, the most powerful free voice broadcasting exclusively to the Soviet Union.

Radio Liberty, the Free Voice of the Peoples of the Soviet Union, broadcasts in 17 languages of the USSR from transmitters in West Germany, Spain and Formosa.

RFE people

*Ferdinand Peroutka - the first head of RFE, 1951-1961
*Noel Bernard - head of the Romanian section, 1966-1981
*E.S. Campbell - Vice President, Engineering and Technical Services
*Jan Nowak-Jeziorański - head of the Polish section 1952-1976
*Kevin Klose -head of RFE/RL, 1994-1997; current head of National Public Radio
*Georgi Markov - Bulgarian dissident, assassinated in London
*Robert Short - Director, Information Services 1987-94
*Zdzisław Najder - head of the Polish section 1982-1987
*Jan Zaprudnik - head of the Belarusian section in the 1970s

ee also

*Prometheism
*Radio Free Asia
*Ogulsapar Myradowa
*Reporters Without Borders
*List of indices of freedom
*Project Pedro

References

External links

* [http://www.rferl.org Official site]
** [http://www.svoboda.org/ Radio Liberty's Russian language service]
** [http://www.armenialiberty.org/ Radio Liberty's Armenia Service]
* [http://hoorferl.stanford.edu/rlexhibit/timeline.php Hoover Institution Archives: Radio Liberty: 50 Years - Time Line]
* [http://www.osaarchivum.org/db/fa/300.htm Open Society Archives: Records of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute]
* [http://www.btinternet.com/~rrnotes/psywarsoc/fleaf/rfe.htm The Cold War Leaflet Campaign of Radio Free Europe]
* [http://www.thegreatradiowar.com Documentary about RFE - Tell us your story]
* [http://www.radioliberty.org/introang.html Museum of the Radio Transmitter in Playa de Pals] (shortwave radio Liberty station in Spain)
* [http://www.englishradio.co.uk European English Language Radio Stations]
* [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/xii/index.htm Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, volume XII (Soviet Union, January 1969-October 1970)]
* [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/frus/nixon/xiv/index.htm FRUS volume XIV (Soviet Union, October 1971-May 1972)]
* [http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/frus1969.pdf United States Government Support of Covert Action Directed at the Soviet Union: Memorandum for the 303 Committee Washington, December 9, 1969] Mentions a FY 1970 budget of $13,130,000 for the Radio Liberty Committee
* ftp://realaudio.rferl.org/ru/sosin.pdf Джин Сосин ИСКРЫ СВОБОДЫ


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  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty — a federally funded private organization that broadcasts news and entertainment to formerly Communist countries, esp. the Russian Federation, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria: founded 1952. * * * …   Universalium

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