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Russia: RFE/RL Chechen Broadcast Service Proposed

Washington, 24 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - A member of the Board of Governors which administers America's international broadcasting has proposed the establishment of a special RFE/RL broadcast service for Chechnya. Alberto Mora, who is also a member of RFE/RL's board of directors, made the proposal at a press conference in Washington today. He said such a service would be an appropriate response to the Russian government's efforts to control news reporting about the fighting in Chechnya.

The press conference was co-sponsored by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Freedom House to discuss RFE/RL correspondent Andrei Babitsky, who has been missing in Chechnya since mid-January.

RFE/RL President Tom Dine outlined the events surrounding Babitsky's disappearance and said his treatment by Russian authorities violated not only the Russian Constitution and Russian law but international standards of human rights and freedom of expression as well.

Dine told reporters at the press conference that RFE/RL holds acting Russian President Vladimir Putin and the government responsible for Babitsky's fate.