Radio Free Europe

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a radio and communications propaganda organization which is funded by the United States Congress. The organization exists 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."[1]

Early history

The National Committee for a Free Europe was founded in June 1949 in New York. 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.

The organization received its funds from the Congress of the United States and until 1971 they were passed to RFE through the CIA. The broadcasts were part of a general CIA psychological warfare campaign directed behind the Iron Curtain. The CIA created general guidelines and had daily input into the handling of news items. The CIA funding of RFE was not publicly acknowledged until 1971 at which point the organization was rechartered in Delaware as a non-profit corporation, oversight was moved to the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), and the budget was moved to open appropriations.

After merger with Radio Liberty

In 1975, RFE was 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).

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 International Broadcasting Bureau was transferred to the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

Radio Liberty Sample Broadcast

Communism on the Spot

A Publice Service of

Radio Liberty


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

See also

External links