OIG investigation of RFE/RL President and CEO urged
BBG Watch Commentary
A former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) broadcaster and senior commentator Lev Roitman has requested the Office of the Inspector General for the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to investigate allegations of mismanagement at his former employer. RFE/RL is funded through the BBG by American taxpayers. Its current President and CEO is Steven Korn who ordered the mass firing of highly-qualified and experienced journalists and web editors at the Moscow bureau of Radio Liberty and the cancellation of their pro-human rights programs. His actions triggered a public relations and public diplomacy crisis in Russia for RFE/RL and the United States, resulting in protests from nearly all major human rights activists and democratic political leaders, including Lyudmila Alexeeva and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Roitman wrote to the Office of the Inspector General:
“I urge you to investigate the pressing allegations of political and managerial ignorance persistently demonstrated, internationally and internally, by RFE/RL President. The reported facts and events are ruinous to RFE/RL integrity in its target countries, to its reputation and trustworthiness as the tool of American public diplomacy funded by U.S. Congress, to the goals of American foreign policy, and wasteful for American taxpayers. I am one of them.”
Lev Roitman had worked for more than 30 years in Munich, New York and Prague as Radio Liberty broadcaster, editor and senior commentator. He is married to a former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty employee Snjezana Pelivan whose anti-discrimination suit against the Czech Republic, the host country of RFE/RL, is pending before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Read Roitman’s Letter to OIG – PDF