Anonymous Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty journalist decries human rights violations at the U.S.-funded broadcaster
Alsou Taheri is the pseudonym of a journalist working at Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in Prague, a U.S. government-funded broadcasting station and Internet news provider managed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a U.S. federal agency.
From Prague, RFE/RL targets 21 countries, with 18 of its 28 broadcasting languages spoken predominantly by Muslim people — notes the author in an article on the English-language online regional news website News.Az based in Baku, Azerbaijan. The article points out that the great majority of RFE/RL editorial staffers are foreigners hired on work contracts, which — the author charges — “intentionally deprive them of legal protection – be it in the United States or in the Czech Republic.”
These foreign employees can be dismissed at a moment’s notice without the usual rights, benefits and protections available to American or Czech citizens working at RFE/RL in Prague. Two former employees are suing RFE/RL. One of the lawsuits is currently pending at the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg.
The article refers to the Broadcasting Board of Governors as the ultimate decision maker at Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty. The author accuses its board members, nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, of giving the world “lessons in hypocrisy” with their treatment of foreign journalists. The author notes that it is a federal U.S. government agency that denies these journalists basic labor law protections in the Czech Republic, a practice which the Czech Helsinki Committee (CHC), a well-respected human rights organization described as “immoral” in a statement issued shortly before this month’s meeting of the BBG board in Prague.
The author writes that authoritarian regimes in countries from which most of RFE/RL journalists come from swear that they are committed to “democracy,” “human rights,” “civil liberties,” “freedom of information” and “rule of law.” This experience gives RFE/RL staffers a good insight into “political hypocrisy, demagoguery, attempts to suppress information, lawlessness and arbitrariness embellished by pompous pronouncements.” It is their “native” experience, the anonymous RFE/RL journalist pointed out.
These employees expected that the Broadcasting Board of Governors would discuss their situation, not only because of the Czech Helsinki Committee statement but also because of other international media reports describing the treatment of foreign journalists at Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty as “hypocrisy,” “violation of human rights,” “lawlessness,” “double standards,” “fraud,” “cynicism,” and “public idiocy instead of public diplomacy.”
The anonymous RFE/RL journalist pointed, however, that the Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty news websites did not report on the Czech Helsinki Committee statement and neither did the BBG website.
“For my colleagues, of whom many had never been in the United States, it is their ‘American’ experience gained at the largest American civil institution abroad financed by U.S. Congress at a level of about 90 million dollars per year — at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. What it breeds is cynicism. But this time, it is the cynicism with distinct American accent.”
Read the original article on News.Az.