Radio Free Europe was rather more than "a flea on the behind of an elephant."

Posted: 28 Sep 2010   Print   Send a link
Canada Free Press, 27 Sept 2010, Ron Ewart: "In the 20th Century, with the new technology of radio and eventually TV, the news reached the people virtually instantly. But never have the people of the planet been able to obtain so much news and information and communicate, discuss and debate that information amongst themselves, individually, until the Internet and e-mail was born. The World Wide Web has brought the citizens of the world together like no other time in history. Never before have the roots of freedom been able to reach almost anyone in the world with a computer and internet access. Radio Free Europe was a flea on the behind of an elephant, in comparison to the millions who are now wired into the Internet."

In Cold War Eastern Europe, RFE/RL and VOA were the two main sources of information, with BBC and Deutsche Welle also important. With this paucity of competition, each station was assured of large audiences. When East Europeans were able to get access to satellite television in the 1990s, they had a choice of a hundred or so channels. When the internet emerged, hundreds, then thousands of websites were available. Blogs were easier to produce than conventional websites, so tens of thousands emerged. With the social media, millions are participating. With the migration to the internet, international broadcasting finds itself in an environment of vast oversupply. The large audiences of decades past have been subdivided.