RFE/RL Russian ends medium wave broadcasts in Moscow, but controversy continues.

Posted: 14 Nov 2012   Print   Send a link
Euronews, 10 Nov 2012: "Complying with new legislation in Russia, Radio Liberty [stopped] broadcasting in the country after nearly 60 years. As of November 10, licences held by companies who are at least 48 percent foreign-owned is forbidden. Liberty, known locally as Radio Svoboda, receives funding from US Congress and was set up to cater for countries where there are restrictions on information. ... Radio Liberty will now concentrate on digital platforms, causing job losses for more than 40 people and, according to some, muffling criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin." With video. -- Radio Liberty did not broadcast in Russia until 1992. It is still broadcasting into Russia via shortwave, just as it did before 1992.

oD Russia, 5 Nov 2012, Anastasia Kirilenko: "I am a 28-year-old Russian web editor and investigative radio reporter who studied digital media journalism in Russia and in France. I have submitted my resignation to the new management of the American-funded Radio Liberty in Moscow after working there for almost four years. I could not in all conscience stay at the ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ Radio Liberty, as the station is now being described by its American management. It is no longer a news organization I and most independent journalists and democratic opposition leaders in Russia want to identify with."

Human Rights in Russia, 13 Nov 2012, Masha Karp: "It was Mikhail Sokolov, one of the best political journalists at the old Liberty who reproached [RFE/RL president Steven] Korn for betraying American values and the radio station’s mission . This accusation went unanswered, as did practically all the other arguments put forward by Korn’s opponents. Marina Timasheva, another former Radio Liberty journalist who had been in charge of cultural programming, spoke about the changes that had taken place at the station and about the variety of skills – including digital – that its staff had acquired in recent years. Aleksander Cherkasov tried to explain that even the best state-of-the-art equipment would be nothing without experienced journalists devoted to what they are doing. Pavel Litvinov wondered why, with the Russian propaganda TV channel Russia Today freely broadcasting in America, the USA could not have tried to insist on at least some reciprocal arrangement for Radio Liberty. And the sociologist Lev Gudkov touched on perhaps the most sensitive issue for the American management – the issue of the target audience. According to Lev Gudkov’s data, Radio Liberty shared an audience with the newspapers Vedomosti, Kommersant, Novaya gazeta, and partially with radio Echo Moskvy, reaching about 3-4m people in Russia. The change from radio to internet, warned Gudkov, would not only decrease the number of listeners, but also dramatically change the character of the audience. Targeting the internet–savvy younger audience would bring no benefit since these people already have a wide variety of channels at their disposal, and competing with those would undoubtedly prove a much riskier business than keeping the loyal, devoted audience that Radio Liberty has been able to boast of until now." Via BBG Watch, 13 Nov 2012. See also YouTube, 5 Nov 2012, FreeMediaOnline.

RadioLibertyInExile, 11 Nov 2012, quoting RFE/RL president Steven Korn: "I think the words and attitude of those people, one in particular, speaks for itself, for themselves, and my theme, like the President's, is forward, we're done debating this, we're done gnashing our teeth about it, we're done wringing our hands, we're done with the second guessing, we are going forward." See also RadioLibertyInExile, 11 Nov 2012.

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