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RFE Historian On The Development Of Independent Media After The Cold War

RFE’s resident historian, A. Ross Johnson, on RFE/RL’s role in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union after the Cold War.

U.S. -- Cold War Broadcasting Ross Johnson book cover.
U.S. — Cold War Broadcasting Ross Johnson book cover.

WASHINGTON, DC — RFE/RL’s own A. Ross Johnson – also of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – was recently published on with a piece entitled “Fostering Independent Professional Media in the Transition; The Contribution of RFE/RL.” In the article, he discusses the recent release of an RFE-centric book he co-edited, as well as the larger issue of RFE’s contribution to the development of independent media in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

“[RFE/RL’s] continuing role of promoting a well-informed citizenry was in response to the urging of many in Eastern Europe, most prominently Vaclav Havel, and took three forms.

First, continued broadcasting in the RFE/RL tradition, providing audience-centric news and information that was balanced, objective, and non-partisan but now increasingly East-European based. Initially this meant strong local news and production bureaus, led by veteran journalists Peter Brod in Prague and Maciej Wierzynski in Warsaw, that provided most domestic news and features for the broadcasts. A Crusade for Freedom poster had called RFE broadcasts “The In Sound from Outside.” Now the “in sound” came from inside.” 

To read the rest of the article, visit Wolna Europa.