BBG Watch Commentary

Steven Korn, President and Chief Executive Officer, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty
Steven Korn, RFE/RL President

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President Steven Korn assured members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in Washington more than a week ago that in a week no one will be talking about his decision to fire about 40 journalists, Internet team members, and a few other staffers at the Radio Liberty bureau in Moscow. He was wrong.

New media reports continue to appear, while it is also becoming obvious that Masha Gessen, Mr. Korn’s selection for the director of the Russian Service, has become an isolated figure in Moscow, shunned by both independent journalists, who remember the fate of their colleagues and her accusations of slander, and by democratic politicians and human rights leaders, like Gorbachev and Alexeeva, who continue to protest against the purge and the disappearance of Radio Liberty with the forced departure of almost all of its most respected journalists and online editors.

BBG Watch was also reporting Thursday that the previous Radio Liberty Internet team, whose members were fired by Mr. Korn, had a tremendous record of accomplishment and that according to a new report compiled from open sources by some of these former employees, Masha Gessen actually lost website visitors for her last employer, the Russian magazine Vokrug Sveta.

The National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States had a report Thursday on the crisis in Moscow. But a far more comprehensive report by Nikolaus von Twickel was published also Thursday in The Moscow Times.

The Moscow Times article quotes Mario Corti, a former Radio Liberty’s Russian Service director, and links to his article on the BBG Watch website.

Read more: Radio Liberty’s Fate Unclear by Nikolaus von Twickel, The Moscow Times, Oct. 18, 2012.