Samizdat at Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty describes discrimination against foreigners, women and 'old white guys'


Copies of samizdat are secretly passed among employees of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty who see themselves as victims of discrimination by the management of the American-run and publicly funded station. Alsou Taheri is the pseudonym of a journalist working at RFE/RL in Prague. Here are some highlights from the article, ‘Prague winter’ for USA’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, published by the online magazine News.Az. RFE/RL is under the overall management of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. federal agency also accused of discriminating against contract employees working for the Voice of America (VOA) in Washington, DC. The BBG has been rated in government-wide employee surveys as one of the worst-managed federal agencies.
Another article, published in Zagreb, Croatia by Croatian Times, also describes examples of discrimination at Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty: Snjezana Pelivan asks Croatian government to support her legal claim in Strasbourg

Snjezana Pelivan

These days, Soviet-style samizdat  is doing the rounds at the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty. It is a press release on the letter to Croatian government by Snjezana Pelivan, a Croatian journalist living in Prague. Her case against the Czech Republic as a country that tolerates the national discrimination practised on its territory by the American RFE/RL, is in the European Court of Human Rights. In her letter, she officially requests the government of Croatia to support her lawsuit in Strasbourg.

Snjezana Pelivan quotes Czech Senator Jaromir Stetina, vice-chairman of the Senate caucus of the governing party, member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Policy, Defense and Security, who described RFE/RL labour policies in the Czech Republic as “patently indecent, unfair, cynical and hypocritical”.

Snjezana Pelivan gives the following example, among others: “A foreign woman working for RFE/RL will receive maternity leave in accordance with the RFE/RL Corporate Policy Manual. It is almost three months shorter than the leave provided by Czech law to anyone else in the Czech Republic, including Czech employees of RFE/RL. But a foreign employee of the Radio has no place to complain – neither to the American courts, nor the Czech ones. In the sovereign Czech Republic, the American RFE/RL is the most sovereign judge in its own court without the right of appeal.”

The article mentions two of the high-level Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty executives, Julian Knapp and John O’Sullivan, who have left the RFE/RL, are about to leave, or whose job titles have been changed. According to earlier reports, some of the recent personnel changes at Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty are due to the reported pressure on “old white guys,” allegedly to make room for promotions for employees who are the favorites of RFE/RL President Steven W. Korn. He is a former CNN associate of the BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson.