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(Washington, DC) During a speech today on "International Broadcasting: The Hard Edge of Soft Power" [audio / video / transcript], RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin discussed the essential role U.S. international broadcasting plays in providing people with free and open media, the promotion of pluralism, and access to free media overseas. In particular, Gedmin described the unique contribution of surrogate broadcasters such as RFE/RL, which are often the only reliable source of objective local news and information in countries that do not have free or fully-developed independent media. Gedmin gave examples of both the successes and the challenges RFE/RL journalists face in the organization's broadcast region, which includes countries such as Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The speech, delivered at the Center for Security and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, was part of the "Smart Power Speaker Series" of the CSIS Commission on Smart Power, a high-level bipartisan group that recently released its final report, "A Smarter, More Secure America."