The tragic news about our RFE/RL Current Time colleagues in Belarus
A note from Chairman Weinstein and CEO Turner
We are terribly saddened to hear about the loss of two of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) colleagues and the grave injury of another.
Vladimir Mikhailovsky, 33, Maksim Gavrilenko, 26, and Lyubov Zemtsova, 28, were on assignment for Current Time, a 24/7 Russian-language TV and digital network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with the Voice of America, to highlight volunteers who help medical workers in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the three were returning home from that assignment, a fatal car accident took the lives of Mikhailovsky and Gavrilenko and placed Zemtsova in critical condition.
Mikhailovsky, Gavrilenko and Zemtsova were striving to bring accurate, unbiased, and professional news and information about COVID-19 to audiences in Belarus, a country where disinformation about the pandemic persists in news headlines. Their work exemplifies how journalism is an essential lifeline, bringing the most consequential story of our time to the darkest corners of the globe.
This is an utterly tragic loss. These young journalists had so much more to offer the world through their creative and dedicated storytelling. USAGM and its networks join those at Current Time and RFE/RL in mourning the loss of Vladimir Mikhailovsky and Maksim Gavrilenko and in wishing Lyubov Zemtsova a speedy recovery. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences go out to their family, friends, and colleagues during this devastating time.