Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Informing Eastern Europe Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty Should Keep Broadcasting to Counter Anti-Democratic Propaganda Being Aired by Former Communist Operatives

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Informing Eastern Europe Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty Should Keep Broadcasting to Counter Anti-Democratic Propaganda Being Aired by Former Communist Operatives

Article excerpt

THERE are several reasons why the Clinton administration's proposal to dismantle Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty is not a good idea. Many people have the notion that RFE and RL have been voices of the cold war - i.e., that they broadcast propaganda - and now that the cold war is over there is no need for such a broadcasting service.

This notion is wrong on two counts. The Radios for the most part eschew propaganda; they provided objective and accurate information to people who were denied such information. Secondly, though the cold war is over, the need for RFE/RL continues because Eastern Europe is living in a twilight era between communism and democracy. Communist parties no longer rule, but the mentality of communism is very much alive. Moreover, though the periodical press has flowered, very few publications offer reliable information.

Romania is a case in point. On one hand, as Harvard University Prof. Richard Pipes recently underlined, the Romanian pattern "retains the substance of communism under different labels," and on the other hand, jingoist and anti-Semitic weeklies are commonplace.

One of the most popular magazines is Romania Mare (Greater Romania), an ultranationalistic weekly edited by Corneliu Vadim Tudor, formerly an ardent supporter of Nicolae Ceausescu and now a member of the parliament. Another weekly, Europa, traffics in the same kind of hate mongering as Romania Mare, lacing its slanders with nostalgia for the Ceausescu era and denunciations of market-based economic reform as a Western perversion. Several independent publications revealed recently that their headquarters have been heavily bugged. The Romanian Secret Police (SRI) denied any involvement, but many observers of the Romanian political scene called SRI's denials "not exactly cogent."

In Romania, television is totally under the control of the Iliescu government, which many observers consider to be neocommunist, since it is staffed by many people who held high positions under former President Ceausescu. It controls the electronic media by means of a licensing procedure that is flagrantly biased.

The Paris-based Internews Agency says that local independent TV stations are being denied licenses, and most of those that receive licenses have no experience in broadcasting and have reputed ties to the government. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.