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52 Years Later, RFE/RL Will Close Czech Broadcast

52 Years Later, RFE/RL Will Close Czech Broadcast

Another remnant of the Cold War is coming to an end. Money from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for the Czech-language Radio Svobodna Evropa will stop flowing this fall, and by mutual agreement RFE/RL will dissolve its partnership with Czech Radio.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors decided not to renew financing for RSE after Oct. 1. The president of RFE/RL called it an extremely difficult decision. “Radio Svobodna Evropa has been a most important component of RFE/RL since it was founded more than half a century ago,” stated Thomas Dine, “but we have new priorities and new financial burdens we have to carry in our budget that did not exist before Sept. 11.”
RSE produces about 40 hours of political and educational programs weekly for broadcast on a frequency owned by Czech Radio. In making the announcement, RFE/RL noted that Thursday, July 4, marks 52 years since Radio Free Europe transmitted its first experimental program to then-Czechoslovakia from the West German border. At one time the Czechoslovak Desk was RFE/RL’s largest Central European service and was the first service to go on the air from Munich. It’s not the first such decision, though. Dine said RFE/RL ended broadcasting to Hungary in 1993 and to Poland in 1997.