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Radio Free Europe follows BBC in closing Romanian language service

de V.O.
Miercuri, 2 iulie 2008, 19:40 English | Regional Europe

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is putting an end to its broadcast in Romanian language starting August 1 - the very same day when BBC Romania also goes off air, as announced a week ago - according to a letter sent by RFE/RL head Jeff Gedmin to his colleagues on Wednesday. But as opposite to BBC Romania, RFE/RL would continue to broadcast for the Republic of Moldova and the Transdniester region.

In his letter Gedmin hails the activity of the Romanian language service for its history spanning almost six decades, in which the radio station was one of the main pillars of resistance against the communist regime that ruled Romania for most of the second half of the 1900's.

He said the decision to end the broadcast was not easy, considering that the situation in Romania is still "imperfect". The opinion was shared by Oana Serafim, head of the Romanian language service, who pointed out for that Romania still ranks poorly in terms of Freedom House indices concerning democracy and corruption.

The decision announced today was not a surprise, considering that RFE/RL had already closed its Bucharest office in 2003. The Wednesday announcement was supported by arguments including the need of the US Congress-sponsored RFE/RL to focus more in Muslim and Central Asian countries, or the fast pace of changes on the Romanian media market.

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