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Budget Strengthens RFE/RL Programming To Iran, Ends Broadcasts To Romania, Macedonia

(Washington, DC–February 6, 2007) The Broadcasting Board of Governors budget request for fiscal year 2008 renews additional funding for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) broadcasts to Iran, to expand news and information programming for Radio Farda, a joint service operated by RFE/RL and the Voice of America, and the Radio Farda web site.

The budget request also calls for RFE/RL to cease broadcasts to Romania and Macedonia. Broadcasts to Ukraine, Kazakhstan and other parts of the former Yugoslavia will be reduced under the budget requested for the BBG, the independent federal agency which supervises all U.S. government-supported, non-military international broadcasting, including RFE/RL. A proposed fiscal year 2007 reduction in broadcasting to Russia also is included in the budget request for 2008.

Reductions also will be made in RFE/RL support and administrative services.

These reductions still require action by the U.S. Congress.

“The budget request for RFE/RL is sufficient to support our continuing mission to promote freedom and democracy to peoples in Eastern Europe, Russian, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia,” said RFE/RL Acting President Jeffrey Trimble. “We are eager to continue to enrich our programming for Iran, and while RFE/RL programming to Romania and Macedonia remain popular in those countries, the elimination of these broadcasts and other proposed reductions are necessary to allow the BBG to achieve its stated priority of strengthening targeted programming to provide essential access to news and information to critical audiences,” Trimble said.

RFE/RL currently broadcasts to 20 countries in 28 languages, 18 of which address primarily Muslim audiences.