The fired journalists of Radio Liberty’s (RL) Moscow office are finally seeing a deep injustice reversed.
Following a visit to Moscow, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) members Susan McCue and Michael Meehan announced:
Given the rapidly shrinking independent media across Russia over the past few months, we have asked the management of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Russian Service and Voice of America Russian Service to redouble US international media efforts in that country.…
In particular, we have asked Acting RFE/RL President Kevin Klose and his team to continue their timely outreach now under way to all the former Radio Liberty journalists, whose expertise could assist in providing important insight and valuable analysis of the inner workings of Russia today.
These are sweet words to the many who spoke out against the firings of most of the long-serving and dedicated staff of RL’s Moscow office last September, among them BBG member Victor Ashe, who led the charge on behalf of the fired Russian journalists. In addition, organizations such as The Heritage Foundation weighed in strongly recommending the rehiring of the staff and creative ways to keep RL on the air in Russia.
Leading up to this welcome development was the firing in December of the new management of Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe under director Steven Korn, a former CNN executive, who had replaced former directors Jeffrey Gedmin and John O’Sullivan. Korn not only sought to replace the Moscow staff and redirect broadcasting resources toward the Internet as opposed to radio; he also put in place a Moscow manager with no media experience. As a consequence of the ensuing uproar, Korn departed in January after the BBG meeting.
It should be noted that the RL debacle is an example of the poor management that has made the BBG the lowest-ranking government agency in employee satisfaction year after year, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Many Russians have been appalled at the unfairness of the actions taken against the RL journalists, the exact opposite of what the United States should stand for. Congress should reform the BBG’s structure and create greater management accountability.