At a gathering in Moscow of Russian journalists, intellectuals, artists, human rights leaders and politicians to mark the 60th anniversary of Radio Liberty, dismissed Radio Liberty political reporter Mikhail Sokolov introduced a video message to Radio Liberty in Exile from former Russian Service director Mario Corti.
Corti said that the renunciation of tradition, mission and identity of Radio Liberty started with the decision of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty management and marketing specialists to give up the station’s brand and former logo.
Corti expressed disappointment that not enough Russian Service journalists opposed the actions of “incompetent managers.”
But he concluded that “after individuals without principles have almost destroyed” Radio Liberty, Radio Liberty in Exile has became “the only agent of her mission in Russia.”
Radio Liberty in Exile event was held in Moscow on March 1, the anniversary of the first Radio Liberation (later Radio Liberty) Russian broadcast in 1953.
With the support of many leading Russian human rights activists, intellectuals and democratic politicians, Radio Liberty in Exile journalists are fighting to regain their former jobs. Messages sent to the fired Radio Liberty journalists by some of the members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), may be a signal that the leadership of the federal agency in charge of U.S. international broadcasting is now ready to resolve the crisis caused by the mass dismissals and termination of many popular radio and online programs on human rights and other political issues in Russia.
“MARIO CORTI: The Liberty Bell in the USA and the Herzen’s Bell in Russia are easily identifiable. They evoke an unambiguous association: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
A few years ago the management of RFE/RL gave away the old brand.
It was replaced it with an amorphous lingam. Something between a cresset and a fig. That move was presented as a brilliant marketing operation. The culprits are in management positions both in Prague and in Washington. Some have been promoted. Somebody made it up to vice-president. Those who resisted were terminated.
This was the first step down a dangerous path: the renunciation of tradition, mission and identity.
Last year the management of RFE/RL has let you down, their best representatives.
It happened with the silent consensus of many of your colleagues. They saw and they perfectly understood what was going on, and I am sorry that many of my former colleagues in Prague did not spend one word to protect Radio Liberty from incompetent managers.
Those who want to keep the status quo as well as the partisans of middle-of-the-road solutions are now telling us: There are forces who want to destroy Radio Liberty.
A typical Soviet argument, an attempt to convince you to cease your battle and desist under the pretext that you should not provide assistance to Radio Liberty’s pretended enemies.
But whom do they mean by enemies? Your supporters? Those who in America and in Russia participate in the campaign to revive the radios and restore justice? I do not know anyone working against Radio Liberty other than those who inflicted her a mortal injury from inside. Radio Liberty and her best representatives are the victims of “friendly fire.”
It’s highly symbolic that precisely you, my friends, are celebrating the 60th anniversary of Radio Liberty.
For now, after individuals without principles have almost destroyed her, you became the only agent of her mission in Russia.
You retrieved the Bell. You retrieved the Liberty Bell. Don’t surrender. I wish you good luck.”