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RFE President to Congress: "We are Smart Power at its Best"


Gedmin at HFAC Hearing

Gedmin at HFAC Hearing

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) RFE/RL President Jeffrey Gedmin told Congress today that RFE/RL "remains on the cutting edge of the struggle for human rights, democracy, and media freedom."

"As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put it when she recently visited our new broadcast headquarters in Prague, RFE/RL is smart power at its best," said Gedmin, who testified before the US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe. [read Gedmin's written testimony or listen to his remarks]

For more than half a century, RFE/RL has remained committed to honest, truthful reporting in the name of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for diversity.

Gedmin described in detail the work of RFE/RL journalists, who take enormous risks to bring timely and reliable news, information, and analysis to their audiences. RFE/RL broadcasts in 28 languages to countries and areas where free media do not exist or where independent, indigenous media are not yet fully established.

"For more than half a century, RFE/RL has remained committed to honest, truthful reporting in the name of pluralism, tolerance, and respect for diversity," he said.

"And as technology has moved forward, RFE/RL has not stood still," Gedmin added. "Today, we have state-of-the-art websites and video content. We use text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter to interact with our audiences -- and to allow them to interact with each other."

Joining Gedmin at the hearing on smart power was VOA Director Danforth Austin, who called the "accurate, objective, and comprehensive" news coverage by US international broadcasting "critical to the long-range strategic interests of the United States."

RFE/RL provides a voice and outlet for millions of people that would otherwise not have one.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee, said "RFE/RL provides a voice and outlet for millions of people that would otherwise not have one."

"The Iranian regime's immediate and violent clampdown on media freedoms is a reminder that media transparency is one of the greatest threats to the rule of autocratic regimes," he said. "RFE/RL and VOA are critical smart power tools on the front-lines of international broadcasting." [read Rep. Wexler's full remarks]

Note: Video of the entire hearing and a transcript will be available soon on the website of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe.

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