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'Air Rescue' -- 'Monocle' Profiles RFE/RL

The November issue of "Monocle" magazine profiles RFE/RL in a three-page feature. The introduction is reprinted below. For the full text, please see the PDF version of the article (link at the bottom of the page).


Monocle, issue 28, volume 03 - November 09


20 years ago, RFE/RL was a busy place as the Iron Curtain was pulled back. Today, its signals are still focused on Russia, as well as Iran and Afghanistan.

Writer: Adam LeBor

Photographer: Jan Prerovsky


When Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, agreed to take part in the country's first live election debate there was no argument about which station could guarantee the largest audience: Radio Free Afghanistan (RFA). RFA's Kabul bureau, part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), hosted President Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, and Ramazan Bashardost in a two-hour discussion in August, also broadcast on national television.

The country was transfixed as its leader was called to account in front of an audience of millions. "President Karzai listens to us at 06:30 every morning when he has his breakfast. Every shopkeeper listens to us, every taxi driver, even the Taliban listen to us," says Hashem Mohmand, the station's deputy director.

Calling Afghan officials to account is a far cry from RFE/RL's original mission...

To read on, click here for the PDF of the full article