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RFE/RL Romanian-Language Service to Close Next Month

‘As the threat of communism recedes in Europe, RFE/RL’s mission is changing.’

We told you here last week that the BBC World Service will shut off its Romanian-language service after 68 years.

Now another service to that population is shutting down. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said its Romanian-language service will cease broadcasting to that country on Aug. 1.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is closing the service as RFE/RL moves resources toward efforts in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and central Asia. Romanian broadcasts to Moldova and the Transdniester region will continue.

RFE/RL says media competition has soared since Romania joined the European Union last year, with more than 70 daily newspapers, 300 private FM stations, cable TV and the Internet now available in the country.

The Romanian Service began experimental broadcasting in July of 1950, and was up and running by the middle of the following year.

President Jeffrey Gedmin saluted RFE/RL employees who “displayed extraordinary bravery, dedication and commitment to a free and independent press in Romania, often at great risk to themselves and their families. Their contributions to the collapse of communism and in helping to pave the way for a democratic Romania’s entry into institutions such as NATO and the EU will never be forgotten.”

A 2006 Romanian government report found that communist rulers may have been responsible for the deaths of three RFE/RL Romania service directors, the broadcaster said.

BBG Governor Jeffrey Hirschberg stated, “As the threat of communism recedes in Europe, RFE/RL’s mission is changing. The latest threat to democracy and free expression is authoritarianism.”