Friday, May 15, 2009

MEDIA: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty open new headquarters - also in the Caucasus (

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty today officially opened its new highly secured headquarters in Prague. “Security was our number-one consideration,” Steven Simmons, a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said at a ceremony.
The move was partly sparked by heightened Czech fears of terrorism following the attacks of 11 September, 2001. RFE/RL has in recent years reduced its activities in Central and Eastern Europe to focus on Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. The radio station with more than 1,000 journalists and correspondents broadcasts in 28 languages and has developed a range of websites.
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who worked at RFE/RL for nine years during communism and the post-Soviet transition, praised the radio for its efforts “to ensure there is a free press where the free flow of ideas is restricted.”
RFE/RL, founded by the United States during the Cold War in the 1950s, moved to Prague from Munich, Germany in 1995, settling down in the former Czechoslovak parliament building at the top of the central Wenceslas Square. After 9/11, Czech authorities decided to move the radio station out of the centre to a brand new headquarters that the station itself describes as one of the best-protected buildings in Europe.
(Source: AFP/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)

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