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Birthday Greetings From Around The World

“On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of RFE/RL which substantially contributed to the promotion of tolerance and understanding in the Western Balkans, please accept our congratulations and best wishes for the future.” –Joint Statement from Mayor Alija Behmen of Sarajevo and Mayor Dragan Djilas of Belgrade

“I would like to congratulate you on the anniversary of the important international institution that you lead and to thank Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as a whole for disseminating the message of freedom to a world that is no safer than it was sixty years ago.” –Former Czech President Vaclav Havel

“Warm congratulations to RFE/RL for many years dedicated to breaching the barriers of censorship and bringing the news to people across Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Central Asia.” – Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

“Without doubt your Radio played a crucial role in the collapse of the Soviet Empire.” –Dr. Ramazan Bashardost, Afghan National Assembly

“As with your Cold War efforts, today’s efforts to inform and engage audiences and promote a free, fair and objective press continue to be met in many nations with suspicion, the harassment of your journalists and attempts to jam your transmissions. Sadly, these actions are often the best indicators that your work is having a real impact. Your 30 million listeners, readers and viewers are no doubt as grateful as I am for your determined efforts in the face of these adversities.” – Senator Richard Lugar

“Please accept my most sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 0th Anniversary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL is one of the most important institutions in the global struggle for democracy and liberty.” –Jan Svejnar, Professor, University of Michigan and Chair, Center for Economics Research in Prague

“I would personally like to say that Radio Free Europe had formed me since my childhood. Despite all effort to make it impossible to hear it, RFE has always been a station informing in the greatest measure about things happening behind the Iron Curtain and also in our homeland. I can honestly say that RFE has always helped especially those who did not want o resign to things…the broadcasting of RFE always respected the real composition of opinions, political and religious groups in former Czechoslovakia and would never let our society be forced into conformity. My word of thanks goes to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.” –Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague

"The National Endowment for Democracy has always looked upon the radios as America’s first democracy program, which established a precedent for giving practical solidarity to dissident intellectuals and captive peoples more than three decades. Our two institutions have so much in common. We are both rooted in the values of democratic internationalism. We share the same spirit of democratic activism in defending freedom against its enemies. And we have followed similar approaches in supporting and empowering democratic activists struggling to liberate their countries and forge the institutions of a free society. We look forward to building upon this common foundation in the years ahead, as we work together to defend freedom in our still troubled world." -Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

“It is with great pleasure that I extend my compliments upon the anniversary of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. By your efficient work you are decidedly contribution to the development of democratic principles, true freedom of expression and formation of a civil society.” –Armen Harutyunyan, Human Rights Defender of the Republic of Armenia

“Congratulations to you and your colleagues at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as you mark six decades of dedicated service as an independent source of accurate information. Often relying on creative means of disseminating your news reports in the face of hostile regimes, your work has served and continues to serve as a vital link for individuals denied access to independent and uncensored news by their own governments. We are mindful that fulfilling RFE/RL’s mission has entailed considerable risks for correspondents subjected to harassment, imprisonment, and physical attacks because of their professional activities. RFE/RL’s continued programming to these countries is particularly essential as is utilization of new technologies to disseminate timely, accurate and impartial news. Having helped usher in the historic changes that took hold in Europe leading up to, and following, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, RFE/RL continues to play an important role in overcoming attempts by countries seeking to maintain a state of monopoly on information. We congratulate you on RFE/RL’s 60th anniversary and support your ongoing mission.”
–Senator Benjamin Cardin, Chairman of Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and Representative Alcee Hastings

“Over the past 60 years, Radio Free Europe has played a significant role in providing information for people and nations who love freedom, but who were at a certain point in history, deprived from having access to accurate and reliable information. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty still continues this important mission.” –Hamid Karzai, President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

“For 60 years RFE/RL has promoted freedom of speech and the free dissemination of ideas. It has served as a model of a responsible and reliable media outlet both before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. RFE/RL still has a role to play, to continue to give people access to information where it is not accessible and to make sure that it continues to be an example of an unbiased, professional and reliable source of information until each of our countries have our own.” –Vartan Oskanian, former Foreign Minister of Armenia (1998–2008)

“From the frontlines of the battle to build a more durable democracy, it is with pride and purpose that I congratulate Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on its sixtieth birthday. I cherish with appreciation the informational infrastructure that Radio Free Europe has long provided in broadcasting alternative, independent and multilateral news and analysis to nations with little or no tradition of free speech and thus press. Your mission has offered much more than moral support; it continues to underscore the power of ideas in forging a more open, tolerant and democratic society.” –Raffi K. Hovannisian, former Foreign Minister of Armenia

"(The prisoners) in the (prison) zone listen to Radio Svaboda. They write down what they hear and tell others. About lots of things. For example, it was my prison mates that first told me that my future wife was being interviewed on Radio Svaboda. Alas, by the time I turned the radio on, the interview was over. But they're interested. In addition to newspapers, they find printouts from the sites of Radio Svaboda. Barbed wire poses no barrier to the (radio) airwaves." –Recently released Belarusian political prisoner Artsiom Dubski:

"I was able to listen to Radio Liberty in prison, and this made me feel free. You cannot imagine what it means, being behind the bars, behind the barbed wire, to breathe the air of freedom which is Radio Liberty." –Belarusian opposition leader Alyaksandr Kazulin

“There is nothing to listen to on state radio, nothing to watch on (state) television. Belarusian radio and television...are completely devoid of truthful news, it's all gross propaganda...Without you and without Russian "Svaboda" we would all probably perish from informational hunger.” –Listener Mail from our listeners Margarita and Ruslan Batsiankou from Minsk

"My parents told me and I have read a lot about the role of Radio Liberty in country's struggle for independence, but I think it's role in the ongoing process of establishment of the democracy in Azerbaijan is absolutely irreplaceable. Radio Azadliq is the only media organization providing alternative views and debates in the country in unbiased, professional manner. I think it is important that Radio Azadliq can be a role model for Azerbaijani media as an example of the media serving to the truth, informed choice and pluralism.

Unfortunately listening to Radio Azadliq is almost as difficult as in Soviet times, especially for those who can only tune to shortwaves in prison. But as the course of the history shows, no matter how thick are the walls, those who are longing for information, are able to find it and informed citizens are able to make positive changes. I want to thank Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty for its contribution to positive changes in all post-soviet area. Thank you for being with us." -- Emin Milli, Azerbaijani imprisoned blogger & one of the founders of AN Network, one of the first video bloggers in Azerbaijan, famous youth and internet activists.

“For the past 60 years, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has promoted freedom and democracy by providing fair and unbiased news to people living in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. RFE/RL continues to play a vital role today. By providing fair, uncensored news in regions where this is otherwise unavailable, your work truly embodies the tenet that the first requirement of democracy is a well-informed citizenry.” –Representative Howard Berman, Chair, Committee on Foreign Affairs

“Sixty years ago, advocates for freedom and democracy gained a powerful voice when Radio Free Europe transmitted its first broadcast in the former Czechoslovakia. During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe played a vital role, empowering democratic opposition movements behind the Iron Curtain with its objective news reports. Freedom fighters such as Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel have indeed credited these broadcasts as being a critical component to their efforts, which led to the ultimate collapse of the communist dictatorships and the outbreak of democracy across the Soviet communist-dominated Eastern Europe in the 1990’s.

“To this day, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty continues to strengthen democratic movements around the world by reporting the news and fill[ing] a void with its effective and unbiased media reporting, and also supports efforts to create independent media outlets in nascent democracies such as Afghanistan. Therefore, on behalf of those in countries around the world who have no voice and little access to the truth and so turn to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and its broadcast stations, on behalf of those who have won their freedom in large part due to the work of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and on behalf of those whose hope in the cause of democracy has been strengthened by the continuing work of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, I would like to commend RFE/RL and its dedicated reporters and staff for six decades of outstanding work – which continues today. RFE/RL’s work has kept the hope of freedom alive in the hearts of many and has shined the cleansing light of truth on repressive, autocratic and corrupt regimes.” –Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Committee on Foreign Affairs

“Please accept my sincere congratulations, since it is exactly 60 years ago when Radio Free Europe decided to enter the severely distorted media landscape behind the iron curtain and change it forever. Radio Free Europe constantly and vigorously challenged the misinformation and lies disseminated for forty years in my country. Irrespective of jamming, the information you have provided found its way to the people on the other side. I have always considered Radio Free Europe a natural ally in my humble efforts to support those who were harrassed or persecuted by the former regime. Even today, you are providing a voice of freedom as valuable and irreplaceable service in many places where it is, however, still necessary. Dear Mr. President, the Radio you have the honor to lead had done its important piece of work in tearing down the communist system, so it definitely deserves on its 60th anniversary a big celebration.” -Karel Schwarzenberg, Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

Twitter Wishes

@very_ordinary: hoping centuries later RFE will continue to be bastion of unbiased journalism and cosmopolitan outlook. Happy Birthday!

@RalfZielonka: Happy #birthday, RFE! You started in Cold War as ‘Radio Free Europe’ - “RFE.” Time to move to ‘Radio Free World’ - “RFW?”

Facebook Wishes

Inara Nora Kyazimova: Happy Birthday, my fav radio!!!

Nick Carzoli: Congrats on 60 years. Proud my brother works for RFE/RL.

Violetta Shekinah: You’ve been awesome almost twice as long as I’ve been alive. I can’t wait to see the progress that will take place over the rest of my lifetime, progress that you all will surely help advance! Thanks!

Alokesh Gupta: Happy Bday RFE/RL & many more to come!

Roman Revkniv: Solid.

Andrea Caballero Benitez: Happy Birthday, it is great to have you!!! ;)

Bohdan Pankiw: Keep up the very good work.

Homero Villarreal: My pleasure to serve the employees of RFERL.....I only wish I could do more for all of you.....

Al Tischler: It was an honor and a privilege to have worked for such an important organization. The people were wonderful!