Russian liberal opposition leaders appeal to U.S. officials to restore jobs to Radio Liberty journalists and their programs
Statement of Yabloko Leaders
“Russian United Democratic Party ‘Yabloko’ is deeply concerned over the situation which surrounds RFERL Russian Service. RFERL Moscow bureau leading journalists mass firings threatened the very existence of Radio Svoboda as objective media of high quality.
The official reason – switching to new multimedia technologies and quitting medium wave broadcasting – doesn’t withstand criticism.
If this was the actual reason, RFERL’s management wouldn’t have fired the Internet team in the first place. This team made Radio Svoboda website one of the most competent and highly quoted political resources in the Russian segment of the Internet.
To the best of our judgment, a bureaucratic mistake took place, which is turning into the other – political – mistake. Bureaucrats supervising mass media were making their narrow decisions, without considering the political consequences, which are indeed political. The Russian audience has lost the information source which it trusted throughout many decades. It is obvious that mass media reputation is the reputation of its journalists.
Russian politicians and human rights activists have lost the channel of delivering their opinion to citizens in the conditions of censorship.
In our perspective, there is still a chance of correcting this situation, preventing the bureaucratic mistake from becoming political.”