Statement by the Democratic Club on Attempts to Pressure RFE/RL to Relocate
We have learned from the public media, that representatives of the government, and its Defense Council and some other central governmental organs are pressuring the leadership of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty to agree to relocate the station into another unspecified place for security reasons. It seems that a certain segment of the public also supports the government's position. It is not surprising that the leaders of KSCM express a similar view.
Since September 11, 2001 the free world has been at war for its survival. A situation forced upon it by international terrorist organizations. This is not only an armed conflict, but also a war of ideas. RFE/RL plays a unique role on the side of freedom by broadcasting into all countries affected by Islamic fundamentalism. These countries have become a potential or real base for terrorist actions.
We are proud that this radio has been broadcasting for six years from our capital where it moved at the invitation of our government. We fully appreciate and support all that this radio station is doing. We expressed that appreciation a few years ago in a letter to President Clinton whom we urgently asked to reject demands that the Czech section of RFE be closed, since democracy in the Czech Republic had been restored. We stressed that this radio station is playing an important role in completing our transformation process because of its high standard of professional excellence in comparison with other public media.
We believe that in the current situation any interruption in the activities of this station, which would necessarily result from relocation, would certainly weaken the position of the free world in the struggle against terrorism. Although we are fully aware of the risk resulting from retaining the radio station´s broadcast operations in the center of Prague, we believe that the degree of the risk is being exaggerated. If the Czech government and representatives of RFE/RL do not agree, it could result in departure of the station to another country. If that happens, we would consider it to be a gargantuan and irredeemable national shame in view of the merits of this station in the renewal of democracy not only for our country but also for other countries.
Prague, January 14, 2002
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