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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 15, 1993


Today, I am pleased to take an important step in the promotion of democracy by putting in place my proposal for strengthening one of the most effective foreign policy tools we have, our international broadcasting programs. For the spread of our values, our ideas and our democratic way of life can help strengthen our security and support others around the world in their struggle for freedom.

I am pleased to be joined in this effort by the Director of the U.S. Information Agency, Dr. Joseph Duffey, and the Chair of the Board of International Broadcasting, Congressman Dan Mica. These programs have been and will be an essential part of our efforts to promote democracy and advance America's interests abroad.

Our plan proposes a proud rebirth of America's broadcasting programs to reflect this post-Cold War era. Our proposal preserves Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, which played such an important role in bringing freedom to Central and Eastern Europe and to the states of the former Soviet Union. It retains our other important broadcasting services, such as Voice of America, Radio Marti and TV Marti which have played such an important role in bringing truth and hope abroad. And our plan reorganizes our foreign broadcasting services to make them stronger, more efficient and more capable of meeting this era's new challenges of fostering democracy and civic reconstruction.

Our victory in the Cold War was due not only to the strength of our forces but also to the power of our ideas. While we acted to contain Soviet expansionism, we also sought to inspire freedom's spirit where repression reigned. Voice of America long played an important role in that effort. And to advance that same cause, 40 years ago we began a radio service, Radio Liberty, which aimed to join freedom's advocates behind the Iron Curtain with freedomloving Americans. The founders of this and the other American radio services understood that truth is one of our most potent weapons in the fight against communism and totalitarianism.

The heroes of the Cold War's end, such as Polish President Lech Walesa and Czech President Vaclav Havel, have often noted the importance they attach to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to their own historic work on behalf of liberty and democracy.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, together with our other broadcasting services, have persistently challenged the ability of repressive leaders to deny history, disfigure truth and manipulate minds. From Havana to Ho Chi Minh City, from Pretoria to Prague, our foreign broadcast services helped prove a lesson that Americans must never forget: an informed and enlightened populace is the mightiest adversary tyranny can ever face.

Today, the challenges have changed for the states that were once held captive behind the Iron Curtain. Freedom's work is not completed. Most of these states are undergoing a difficult process of consolidating democracy's gains and building prosperity's foundations. The resulting economic and political tensions in many of these nations have bred demagogues and warlords who threaten to reverse democracy's recent progress.

These states and many others still need a source of news that is reliably free from the manipulation of their own governments. No nation has more credibility to provide such news than the United States. That is why our radio and other international broadcasting services will continue to be vital as we seek to help strengthen new democracies and bolster the development of democratic institutions where they do not yet exist.

The plan we are announcing today will make those services stronger and better suited to this era:

By bringing our broadcasting resources together under one roof, we can achieve substantial savings, while at the same time providing for greater flexibility to target and shape our broadcasts as may be warranted by changing international circumstances and audience interests. We can also take better advantage of the remarkable technological developments in worldwide broadcasting that are imminent.

The plan we are announcing today was developed through the hard work and cooperation of many individuals, but I particularly want to acknowledge the leadership of Congressman Dan Mica and Dr. Duffey. I also want to acknowledge the high degree of professionalism and dedication among those individuals who have done so much to create the excellence of the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty and our other broadcasting services. They spent years of their lives, and often risked their own lives, to bring accurate news and the message of democracy to people who have been denied both, and we will continue to rely on their excellent service.

I have said that my foreign policy is premised on promoting democracy, improving our security and revitalizing our economy. The plan we are announcing today assists us in doing all three.

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