Liberty Media Corporation should also honor fired Radio Liberty Russian journalists

BBG Watch Commentary

2013 Media for Radio Liberty Award

Liberty Media Corporation, a for-profit group of American media industry investors, is giving its $50,000 Media for Liberty Award in a ceremony in Washington, DC on April 10. Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist who since October 2012 has been the director of the Russian Service of Radio Liberty, will receive the award.

Meanwhile, dozens of journalists fired from Radio Liberty in Moscow in September 2012 are still unable to find paying jobs as independent reporters in Putin’s Russia. Liberty Media Corporation should also honor fired Radio Liberty Russian journalists.

Radio Liberty in Exile Facebook Photo

Radio Liberty in Exile Facebook Page and New Liberty SvobodaNew.com Photo

Please join BBG Watch in asking Liberty Media Corporation, its Chairman John C. Malone, President and CEO Gregory B. Maffei and members of Media for Liberty Award Jury to give these 40 fired Radio Liberty journalists at least an honorable mention for their many contributions to media freedom in Russia. These brave fighters for freedom, Radio Liberty in Exile journalists and digital media professionals, deserve their own Media for Radio Liberty Award.

The Liberty Media Corporation award ceremony, featuring television reporter and commentator John Stossel, will be held on April 10, starting at 6:30PM, at Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001. Requests for information can be directed to Reggie Salazar, 720-875-5408, Reggie@libertymedia.com.

Anyone attending the ceremony who has a chance to speak, and especially any journalists, including members of the jury, should say something in defense of the Radio Liberty Moscow staff fired by the former American management of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) .

One of the jurors listed on the Liberty Media Corporation website is Tucker Carlson, a commentator for the Fox News Channel whose father, Richard Carlson was director of the Voice of America (VOA), which like RFE/RL is also part of U.S. international broadcasting managed by the broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

Other listed jurors on the Liberty Media Corporation website are: John C. Malone, Liberty Media Corporation Chairman; Christy Carpenter CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller (WRI) Institute, Jonathan Dahl, editor in chief of SmartMoney; Allan Dodds Frank, current contributor to Newsweek/TheDailyBeast.com. and Fortune.com; Mark McSherry, a professor of journalism at St Francis College; Maria Streshinsky, a journalist; and Stacey Woelfel, an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.

More information about what happened to 40 Radio Liberty journalists and to Radio Liberty in Russia can be found in a letter from Nobel Peace Prize nominee Lyudmila Alexeeva, Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, in reporting by Judy Bachrach for the World Affairs Journal and on the BBG Watch website – www.bbgwatch.com.

Radio Liberty in Exile video “US CONGRESS HELP US!” has information on individual Radio Liberty journalists and what they have done during many years of human rights reporting in Russia. As they were fired without any prior warning, RFE/RL-hired security guards prevented them from saying good bye to their radio and online audiences. Afterwards, the station’s reputation and audience in Russia drastically declined. Former President Mikhail Gorbachev and nearly all leading anti-Putin opposition leaders and human rights activists protested against the firing of journalists and programming changes at Radio Liberty.

Inquires can also be directed to the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, and BBG’s Interim Presiding Governor Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, Inc.

For more information about BBG contact:

Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
330 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20237
Locator: (202) 203-4000
Public Affairs: (202) 203-4400
Fax: (202) 203-4585
E-mail: publicaffairs@bbg.gov
www.bbg.gov

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Acting President Kevin Klose, a former president of National Public Radio appointed by the BBG on January 17, 2013, is reportedly working on returning the fired journalists to their jobs at Radio Liberty, but no decisions have been announced so far. He had met recently with their representatives in Moscow and with leaders of Russia’s human rights organizations, including Lyudmila Alexeeva, whom he later invited to participate in  a ceremony in Washington, DC to mark the 60th anniversary of Radio Liberty broadcasting to Russia.

For more information about RFE/RL contact:

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Joanna Levison (in Prague)
Deputy Director of Communications
Telephone: +420.602.612.705
Fax: +420.221.123.010
Email: levisonj@rferl.org

Please direct inquiries in Czech to:
Jana Hokuvova
Telephone: +420.221.122.072
Email: hokuvovaj@rferl.org

Martins Zvaners (in Washington, DC)
Deputy Director of Communications
Telephone: +1.202.457.6948
Fax: +1.202.457.6992
Email: zvanersm@rferl.org

Karisue Wyson (in Washington, DC)
Senior Press Officer
Telephone: +1.202.457.6917
Fax: +1.202.457.6992
Email: wysonk@rferl.org

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