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Is RFE/RL U.S. propaganda?

RFE/RL provides uncensored, trusted local news, often acting as a public broadcaster. RFE/RL’s editorial decisions are separated from U.S. political interference by law so that our audience’s needs always drive our reporting. 

Why should U.S. taxpayers pay for this?

A free press allows people to make informed choices about their future. By contributing to media freedom in autocratic societies and emerging democracies, RFE/RL is supporting the long-term development and stability in the region we cover. RFE/RL’s budget is less than one percent of the overall federal budget and is spent fostering an open media…

Isn’t this dangerous? How does RFE/RL keep our reporters safe?

In many countries RFE/RL journalists knowingly work at tremendous risk. They are often harassed, threatened, physically assaulted, or detained in connection with their professional activities. In Ukraine, our reporters are covering a full-scale war from the frontlines. Nothing is more important than the safety of our journalists. We work closely with the U.S. and European…

Isn’t RFE/RL funded by the CIA?

RFE/RL is funded by the U.S. Congress through a grant from the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and has had no connection to the CIA for over fifty years.

Is this still necessary? Isn’t the Cold War over?

In a world of disinformation and polarization, RFE/RL’s mission is critical to allowing people to make informed decisions about their futures. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine exemplifies why our mission is so important. 

How does RFE/RL reach people?

Despite our Cold War history, today’s RFE/RL is digital-first. We reach our audiences where they are. In some countries, like Afghanistan, radio remains an important tool. In others, we have made concerted investments in digital news formats to best provide our audiences with trusted reporting. Because we work in closed media environments, in partnership with the Open…

If the U.S. government funds RFE/RL, how can it be independent and unbiased? 

An essential guarantee of RFE/RL’s journalistic credibility is the “firewall” enshrined in the enabling legislation of the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), the U.S. International Broadcasting Act. The firewall prohibits interference by U.S. government officials, including USAGM’s Chief Executive Officer, in the objective, independent reporting of news by RFE/RL, thereby safeguarding the ability of…

How is RFE/RL funded and managed?

RFE/RL is funded by the U.S. Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM). USAGM is an independent federal government agency that oversees all U.S. global broadcasting. Under IRS rules, RFE/RL is a private, nonprofit Sec. 501(c)3 corporation. Chartered in Delaware, it receives federal grants as a private grantee. RFE/RL maintains a corporate…

What does RFE/RL do?

RFE/RL operates as a surrogate local news broadcaster in closed, polarized, or emerging media markets. RFE/RL provides uncensored, independent reporting on digital platforms, radio, and television, in local languages for in-country audiences.

Where does RFE/RL report?

We report in 27 languages and engage with audiences in 23 countries including in Europe, Eurasia, Central Asia, and the Near East.