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RFE/RL Plans Broadcasts To North Caucasus

(Washington, DC--February 8, 2001) RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine has announced that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has begun the planning process for broadcasts in Avar, Chechen and Circassian to the peoples who speak those languages in the North Caucasus.

Dine pointed out that RFE/RL has taken this step in response to a Congressional mandate contained in Public Law 106-553, which was passed and signed into law at the end of last year. So far, he said, no separate funds have been appropriated.

Planning for new broadcasts is always a complicated task, Dine said, noting that RFE/RL managers and staff are currently involved in intensive discussions on how to set up such broadcasts, how to hire staff, and how to reach this new audience.

Many of these peoples, Dine said, are already familiar with RFE/RL because of its broadcasts in the Russian language, but like the other nations to whom the station broadcasts, many of them clearly prefer to receive news and information in their own languages.

Dine said that no date has been set for the launch of broadcasts in these three languages, He concluded by pointing out that these broadcasts like all those by RFE/RL will carry objective and balanced news and information. "Having access to such information," the RFE/RL president said, "is the foundation for building a free and democratic society."

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, international communications service to Eastern Europe and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East funded by the US Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.