Russia, Radio Liberty – Svoboda reorganization.

9 Oct 2012

On October 9th at 2 p.m. meeting in support of Radio Liberty at the US embassy in Moscow. On October 10th journalists.

 

 

To the International Committee of the U.S. Congress
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Senator Benjamin Cardin
September 27, 2012

Dear Mr. Cardin, dear Ms. Clinton

We deeply regret to officially announce that following the decision of the management Radio Liberty stops its medium- wave broadcasts.
It has been done at the moment, when the regime of Vladimir Putin launched a new attack on the freedom of speech and Democratic movements in Russia. Human rights organizations are declared “foreign agents”, USAID stops its work in Russia.
Radio Liberty has existed for more than 60 years and for the whole generations of 1960- 80th was a source of accurate information. Current situation in Russia looks more and more like USSR. Current domestic and foreign policy is determined by people, who came from KGB and it is becoming clear, that we cannot lose the traditions of the station, which has always been taking very active civil position based on the universal values of freedom, democracy and human rights. In today’s Russia all these values are being attacked by the government.
Reorganization of Radio Liberty work was carried out in a form of shameful and abusive for its employees “special operation”. Any KGB could not harm the image of the radio and the United States in Russia as did US managers- the President of the Radio Liberty Steven Korn and the vice- president Julia Ragona.
They have ignored BBG’s (Broadcasting Board of Governors) findings confirming the effective work of the Russian service of Radio Liberty (http://www.bbg.gov/wp-content/media/2012/02/FY-2013-BBG-Congressional-Budget-Request-FINAL-2-9-12-Small.pdf). A team of journalists, who used to create radio and internet content, a team that used to bring hundreds of thousands of spectators of democratic rallies broadcasts in 2011-2012 is dismissed.
Mr. Korn and Ms. Ragona’s staffing solutions were conducted without even slightest consideration of the creative contribution and potential of each employee. Dismissed are the professionals with stainless reputations. Some of the journalists have left Moscow office of Radio Liberty deliberately on moral grounds.
Additionally a new head of the Russian service is assigned a person, who received negative assessment as a manager at her previous jobs. A person never previously engaged in a kind of work offered by the Radio Liberty.
Mass dismissals of journalists have disorganized the work of the broadcast and the work of the radio’s website for extended period.
Scandalous publication about the activities of American management team of the radio appeared in Russian and foreign press.  The managers themselves could not explain their decisions to the Russian society. These decisions look very strange, while the financing of the Russian service for years 2012- 2013 has not been reduced, but in fact even increased.
From now on, every time Russian authorities will decide to close one or another independent media, they will refer to for them very convenient “experience” of the management of Radio Liberty.
We do not have any information about a new concept of multimedia portal that was proposed instead of public over- the –air and internet broadcasting and we are concerned that this new concept might be contradictory to the goals and missions established by the U.S Congress and BBG and to the goals and missions of Radio Liberty in Russia.
We ask the Congress to set up a special commission to investigate the activities of the Radio Liberty’s management, which caused such damage to the image of the United States in Russia and review the decisions that have been made.
With kind regards,

 Lyudmila Alekseeva, Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group
Sergei Kovalyov, Chairman of the Russian “Memorial”, the chairman of the Public Commission for the Preservation of the Heritage of Academician Sakharov — Andrei Sakharov Foundation
Vladimir Bukovsky, Writer, a former political prisoner in the Soviet Union
Tatiana Yankelevich, Center Associate, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, daughter of Elena Bonner and Andrei Sakharov
Pavel Litvinov, a former political prisoner in the Soviet Union
Alexei Simonov, the President of the Glasnost Defense Foundation
Lev Ponomarev, Executive Director of the Russian movement “For Human Rights”

What happened at Radio Liberty in Russia. Elena Rykovtseva in Novaya Gazeta.

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