Radio Free Europe (RFE), broadcasting organization established in 1950 with the stated mission of promoting democratic values and institutions. Its original purpose was to broadcast news to countries behind the "Iron Curtain" during the cold war. In 1975, it was merged with Radio Liberty (RL), a similar enterprise that broadcast to the peoples inside the Soviet Union. RFE receives most of its funding from the U.S. Congress. Until 1971, the funds were channeled through the Central Intelligence Agency; since that time the funds have been received in the form of grants through the Broadcasting Board of Governors of the U.S. Information Agency. The collapse of the USSR brought about changes including budget cuts and the relocation of headquarters from Munich, Germany, to Prague, the Czech Republic, in 1995. Broadcasts were ended in some areas but added in others. They are now sent to E and SE Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. They continue to include news, political commentaries, sports, and music, and to be written, produced, and broadcast by nationals from the audience countries. RFE/RL now broadcasts over shortwave, AM/FM, and television channels, and the Internet.
See R. Holt, Radio Free Europe (1958); A. A. Michie, Voices through the Iron Curtain (1963); D. Shanor, The New Voice of Radio Free Europe (1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.