BBG Governors McCue and Meehan urge RFE/RL to work on returning fired journalists to Radio Liberty

BBG Watch Commentary

“In particular, we have asked Acting RFE/RL President Kevin Klose and his team to continue their timely outreach now under way to all the former Radio Liberty journalists, whose expertise could assist in providing important insight and valuable analysis of the inner workings of Russia today.” — Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) members Susan McCue and Michael Meehan

Governors Meehan and McCue and Acting RFE/RL President Kevin Klose join VOA's Russia Bureau Chief Jim Brooke in a meeting with the U.S.Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (center)

Governors Meehan and McCue and Acting RFE/RL President Kevin Klose join VOA's Russia Bureau Chief Jim Brooke in a meeting with the U.S.Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul (center)

In a statement issued today after their visit to Moscow, Broadcasting Board of Governors members Susan McCue and Michael Meehan urged acting Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) president Kevin Klose and his management team “to continue their timely outreach now under way to all the former Radio Liberty journalists, whose expertise could assist in providing important insight and valuable analysis of the inner workings of Russia today.”

McCue and Meehan noted the deterioration of media freedom in Russia and called for increased news outreach by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Russian Service and Voice of America Russian Service.

“Given the rapidly shrinking independent media across Russia over the past few months, we have asked the management of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service and Voice of America Russian Service to redouble US international media efforts in that country”

McCue, who also serves as the chairwoman of the RFE/RL corporate board, and Meehan met in Moscow with representatives of the fired Radio Liberty journalists and with Russian human rights activists and civil society leaders who support Radio Liberty and its fired team.

McCue, Meehan, Klose with Alexeeva, Gorelik and Fistein

(Photo – from left to right) Former (fired) Radio Liberty human rights reporter Kristina Gorelik, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member and Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Board of Directors Chairwoman Susan McCue, Radio Liberty Senior Adviser Jefim Fistein, human rights defender Lyudmila Alexeeva, BBG member and RFE/RL Board member Michael Meehan, RFE/RL Acting President and CEO President Kevin Klose.

McCue, Meehan and Klose spent part of Orthodox Easter Sunday at the Moscow apartment of preeminent human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeeva. Fired Radio Liberty human rights reporter Kristina Gorelik was also present.

BBG Governors Susan McCue and Michael Meehan with fired Radio Liberty political reporter Mikhail Sokolov.

McCue and Meehan also met with fired Radio Liberty journalist Mikhail Sokolov who is considered one of the best political reporters in Russia. BBG governors also participated in a roundtable discussion in Moscow at the office of the Memorial human rights group.

Russian human rights and civil society leaders urged Governors McCue and Meehan to bring back the fired Radio Liberty team because of the journalists’ experience and outstanding reputation.

Sources told BBG Watch that it is still unclear how the reintegration would be done and how many journalists will get their old jobs back. They point out, however, that a special statement from two BBG members mentioning “all the former Radio Liberty journalists” and urging RFE/RL management “to continue their timely outreach” is highly significant and may speed up the reintegration process at Radio Liberty.

MORE: BBG Governors McCue and Meehan met in Moscow with Alexeeva and with fired Radio Liberty staffers.

BBG Press Release

Governors Seek To Expand U.S. International Media Efforts In Russia

MAY 7, 2013

At the end of their May 3-7 visit to Moscow, BBG Board members Susan McCue and Michael Meehan released the following statement:

“Given the rapidly shrinking independent media across Russia over the past few months, we have asked the management of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service and Voice of America Russian Service to redouble US international media efforts in that country. After our many meetings in Moscow with a range of Russian media experts and champions of human rights and civil society, we believe it is critical to have the best, most experienced news reporters working for us covering Russia both inside and outside of the country.”

“In particular, we have asked Acting RFE/RL President Kevin Klose and his team to continue their timely outreach now under way to all the former Radio Liberty journalists, whose expertise could assist in providing important insight and valuable analysis of the inner workings of Russia today.


Governor Michael Meehan at the Moscow bureau shared by RFE/RL and VOA

“We wish to underscore recent observations by Reporters Without Borders, which noted that ever since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency, the Russian government ‘has had a spate of repressive laws passed in order to prevent the growth of more freedom of information,’ and that this is ‘a crucial moment for freedom of information in that country.’

“Upon our return to Washington, DC, we intend to follow up on positive dialogues with Ambassador Michael McFaul and others about seeking creative partnerships to explore the potential of expanding platforms for distribution of our broadcasters’ programs. Radio Liberty is more critical than ever as Russia tightens the flow of communication throughout the country.”

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