Rights activists ask U.S. not to stop Radio Liberty broadcasts to Russia
Moscow, Interfax - Leading Russian human rights activists have asked the U.S. to reconsider their decision to stop broadcasting Radio Liberty on the mid-range waves and not to fire employees of the Moscow office of the radio station.
The address, which was signed by veterans of the Russian human rights movement, including Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Valery Borshchev, Svetlana Gannushkina, Lev Ponomaryov, and Sergei Kovalyov, has been sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ponomaryov, who leads the Russian movement For Human Rights, told Interfax on Thursday.
The U.S. Congress is now assisting the work of the international non-profit radio station Radio Liberty, which is financed through grants.
"We are disappointed with what has occurred and how it occurred. The events surrounding Radio Liberty do not make the Department of State, the U.S. Congress, and American politicians look good. They should have approached the fate of the station, its journalists and listeners with more attention," Ponomaryov said.
"The Americans are apparently busy with their internal affairs and they have stopped carrying about Russia. The fact that it's being done by the Americans makes me disappointed and angry. I have been listening to Radio Liberty since my childhood and it helped me become a human rights activist," he said.
Ponomaryov said human rights activists in their address demand an investigation into the situation with the plans to stop Radio Liberty broadcasts to Russia.
"Personally, I am calling for all decisions to be reconsidered. There is no law under which they have to stop broadcasts. The departure of this radio station from the mid waves will be a big loss to us," he said.
On September 14, Maria Gessen, former editor-in-chief of the magazine Vokrug Sveta, announced her appointment as director of the Russian service of Radio Liberty.
On September 21, Lyudmila Telen, editor of the Radio Liberty website, announced her resignation from the radio station's Internet site on her account on Facebook. Telen said that was Gessen's decision. Gessen, in turn, denied the information on her Facebook account, saying she has not dismissed any employees and all staff decisions had been made by the previous administration of the radio station.
On the same day, it became known that Radio Liberty will stop broadcasting in Russia in the mid waves on November 10, but will continue broadcasting in the Internet.