(Washington, DC -- April 3, 2002) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. launched broadcasts today to the North Caucasus in the Avar, Chechen, and Circassian languages. In announcing the new broadcasts, RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine emphasized that programming would be "accurate, impartial, and respectful of the human rights of all persons in this war-torn region."
Dine said that "RFE/RL's broadcasts are known for their independence, professionalism and solid journalistic values. Because of the depth of experience of our correspondents, I am confident that our North Caucasus broadcasts will be known for these same qualities."
RFE/RL is set to broadcast one hour per day of original programming from 1900-2000 CEST on shortwave frequencies 9865, 11760 and 15350, with a repeat hour of broadcasts from 0600-0700 CEST on shortwave frequencies 9850, 11760 and 17710. These same programs will also be available on the Internet at www.rferl.org
Many of the North Caucasus peoples, Dine said, are already familiar with RFE/RL because of its broadcasts in the Russian language. But like those of other nations to whom the station broadcasts, many clearly prefer to receive news and information in their own languages.
According to RFE/RL Director of Broadcasting Jeffrey Trimble, each hour will feature 15 minutes of programming in each of the three North Caucasus languages, with an additional 15-minute news program in Russian focusing on events affecting the North Caucasus region. The programs will be produced by a staff of nine, all based at RFE/RL's Prague operations center. The broadcasts will focus on current news, world events, culture, history, language, religion, local politics and democratic institution building.
Congress mandated RFE/RL in late 2000 to commence North Caucasus broadcasting. Funding for the project was appropriated many months later.