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RFE/RL Will Drop Seven Languages; Jobs Will Be Cut

RFE/RL Will Drop Seven Languages; Jobs Will Be Cut

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty plans to stop broadcasting in seven languages to countries in Central and Southeastern Europe by the end of this year.
Language services broadcasting to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia will close Dec. 31, under a directive from the White House and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, RFE/RL’s oversight body.
A total of more than 100 positions will be cut, affecting personnel at RFE/RL’s Broadcasting Center in Prague and in its news bureaus in Tallin, Riga, Vilnius, Bratislava, Bucharest, Sofia and Zagreb.
In announcing the changes to the staff in Prague, RFE/RL President Thomas Dine stated, “Over the last six years, RFE/RL has rapidly expanded its operations in Eurasia and Southwest Asia. It is now time to focus fully on these very troubled areas.”
In February, PresidentBush proposed in his budget to end broadcasting to countries preparing to join NATO and the European Union. Congress did not provide additional monies for the seven language services.
Of the 34 languages broadcast by RFE/RL, 19 are to places where the majority populations are Muslim. In Europe, broadcasts will continue to Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine.