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RFE Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Meanwhile, it is distributing 20,000 battery-free radios in Afghanistan

The chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors will headline an event next week noting the recent 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe.

The organization noted that it launched its first broadcast from the Empire State Building with a pledge to deliver the news “in the American tradition of free speech.” It says 20 million people in 21 countries continue to use RFE.

The Sept. 28 event will be at the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington and be moderated by RFE President/CEO Jeffrey Gedmin.

“On this historic RFE anniversary, recently confirmed BBG Chairman Isaacson will outline his vision for the future of U.S. international broadcasting,” RFE stated. Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute.

Radio Free Europe was merged with Radio Liberty in the 1970s.

The photo here, taken from RFE’s website, shows the master control room in Munich in the 1980s.

Separately, RFE’s Radio Azadi recently launched an initiative to hand out 20,000 solar/hand crank radios to Afghans in remote locations. It said it is doing so with the help of the Afghan Air Force and U.S. military, in advance of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan.

“More than 2,000 radios were delivered [last] week to Afghans in the provinces of Logar, Shamali, Parwan, Kapisa, and Kabul,” it stated. “Over the next few weeks, the Afghan Air Force will distribute the remaining radios via Mi-17 helicopters to isolated villages throughout the rest of the country.” RFE said the radios are similar to ones distributed in Haiti after the earthquake there.

According to RFE, the region has experienced a proliferation of Taliban-sponsored radio stations, mainly in the tribal areas along the Pakistani border. “These stations — commonly called ‘Mullah Radio’—- incite hatred, intolerance, and ethnic violence.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty launched Radio Azadi eight years ago.

A Brief History of RFE/RL” (official site)

RFE/RL History Forum