Prague, Czech Republic — This week, RFE/RL marked its 20th anniversary in the Czech Republic in an event convened under the auspices of Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and attended by dignitaries from over 22 countries.
In his keynote remarks, Prime Minister Sobotka recalled listening to RFE/RL as a student in Czechoslovakia.
“I want to thank RFE/RL not only for the last 20 years, but…for the indispensable help in difficult times of oppression, for being a fixed point in space of objectivity in a universe of disinformation, for providing a sense of direction for so many listeners, and for disseminating the voices of freedom,” he said.
Sobotka announced the award of two Karel Kramar medals for national service to former RFE/RL Czechoslovak Service Director Pavel Pechacek and former RFE/RL President Kevin Klose. Pechacek was the only independent journalist to report to audiences in their native Czech language directly from Wenceslas Square during the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Klose led RFE/RL during the move to Prague in 1995. The medals will be presented to the recipients during the Prime Minister’s visit to the U.S. this fall.
Representing the Broadcasting Board of Governors at the event, Ambassador Ryan Crocker paid tribute to the importance of informed media in conflict zones, and the courage of RFE/RL journalists working on the front lines in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Schapiro expressed the United States’ deep appreciation for the U.S.-Czech bilateral relationship and their partnership in supporting RFE/RL.
RFE/RL began broadcasting from Munich to the former Soviet Union and eastern and central Europe in 1950, moving its operations to Prague in 1995 at the invitation of then Czech President Vaclav Havel. Sixty-five years after its first broadcast, RFE/RL is a leading innovator in international media, reaching an audience of 23.3 million people in 24 countries and 28 languages on TV, web, social networks, and mobile platforms.
RFE/RL is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 21 countries, including Russia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).
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Contact Joanna Levison
Director of Media and Public Affairs, Prague
Contact Martins Zvaners
Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, DC