The Best of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Reporting
October 1-31, 2007
Defense Secretary Gates Speaks to RFE/RL in Prague
During a visit to Prague to discuss a proposed missile defense system opposed by Russia, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates
granted an exclusive interview to RFE/RL on October 23. Gates told RFE/RL that the U.S. will continue to view Russia as a strategic partner "until and unless it proves otherwise." Asked about current tensions in the U.S.-Russia relationship reminiscent of the Cold War era, Gates stressed, "It's a completely different world; Russia today is a very different place than under the Soviet Union." He said no one wants another Cold War, including Russia. Gates acknowledged that Russian authorities were more authoritarian than the U.S. would like, but he cautioned that building the institutions of democracy takes time and that the U.S. needs to consistently encourage the growth of freedom in Russia.
Iraqi Parliament Speaker Gives Exclusive Interview During RFE/RL Visit
During a visit to RFE/RL's broadcast operations center in Prague on October 5, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani
, the Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, gave an exclusive interview to Radio Free Iraq. In the interview, al-Mashhadani urged reconciliation of the warring groups in Iraq, saying that "failure to achieve this means we will have a worse scenario than the present situation." Al-Mashhadani was in Prague with five other Iraqi parliamentarians on a three-day visit to expand ties with the Czech parliament.
Former RFE/RL Correspondent Slain in Kyrgyzstan
Alisher Saipov, a newspaper editor and former correspondent for RFE/RL's Uzbek Service, was shot to death
outside the offices of his newspaper in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Saipov worked for the Uzbek Service in 2001 and 2002, and until his death he continued to appear as a guest on RFE/RL programs addressing human rights, media freedom, and political developments in Uzbekistan. He is survived by a wife and a three-month-old daughter. He was 26 years old.
Georgian Service Covers Launch of Troops' New Mission in Iraq
The Georgian Service reported that, with a new mission in Iraq that began on October 8, Georgia has become the United States' second-largest ally in Iraq after the United Kingdom. At a time when many countries are pulling their troops out of Iraq, Georgia recently more than doubled the size of its deployment there. Despite the official silence of the Georgian Defense Ministry on the matter, the Service was tipped off about the new deployment of Georgian troops by colleagues at Radio Free Iraq and quickly landed interviews with the Deputy Minister of Defense (who was in Iraq) and with the Orthodox priest accompanying the troops in Al Kut.
Kyrgyz Service Covers Constitutional Referendum on Radio, Web, TV
Russian Service Observes Anniversary of Politkovskaya Murder
On the first anniversary of her murder, the Russian Service commemorated slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya with five special programs, including updates on stories she was working on at the time of her death and features on people she helped with her journalism. The Service also covered the events that RFE/RL organized in Prague and Washington
Radio Free Afghanistan Investigates Use of Death Penalty...
On October 7, an anonymous source provided Radio Free Afghanistan with a list
...Brings Relief for Expatriates in Saudi Arabia
In October, Radio Free Afghanistan's longstanding effort to call attention to the plight of Afghan expatriates living in Saudi Arabia finally paid off, as the Afghan government agreed to issue them Afghan passports. After the fall of the Taliban, nearly 300,000 Afghans moved to Saudi Arabia to find work, and in recent years they have been unable to return to their homeland due to bureaucratic obstacles in both countries. As more and more of these expatriates called Radio Free Afghanistan from Saudi Arabia with tales of bureaucratic woe, the station pressed the Afghan government for answers, and soon Afghan officials were traveling to Riyadh for talks on the issue. When both sides found a solution to the problem, ecstatic expatriates flooded Radio Free Afghanistan with messages of gratitude, and many of them were interviewed on the air.
RFE/RL First to Report on Opposition Rally, Arrests in Armenia
The Armenian Service was the first domestic media outlet in October to cover the arrests of opposition activists and the rally organized by supporters of former President Levon Ter-Petrossian. The Service has provided extensive coverage of the political comeback
rst president, who on October 26 announced that he will run for President in next year's election. In a 90-minute speech in Yerevan's Liberty Square, he reiterated his fierce criticism of Armenia's current leadership, describing it as a "criminal regime which is corrupt from the top down." The Service also covered the arrest of Ter-Petrossian loyalists who were trying to advertise his rally. RFE/RL's coverage was widely cited by other domestic media, and one leading Armenian pundit wrote in his column, "We can exercise our right to be informed by switching off TV and waiting until 7:00 PM, when we can learn from Radio Liberty what is happening in the country."
Kazakh Service Only Local Source for News of Dissident's Death
On October 18 and 19, the Kazakh Service was the only domestic media outlet to report that Temirtas Tleulesov, a well-known Kazakh dissident and author, had died suddenly. In his books, Tleulesov unearthed sensational revelations of corruption among regional government officials. In 2000, Tleulesov went into hiding when that same regional government convicted him of hooliganism and sentenced him to two years of jail; he had been hiding in remote areas of southern Kazakhstan since then. Tleulesov's family notified the Kazakh Service of his death, but the Service still does not have any details on the cause of death. The Service enriched its exclusive reports with archival recordings of interviews conducted with Tleulesov before his conviction.
Belarus Service Turns Spotlight On "March for Freedom"
Radio Free Iraq Correspondent Kidnapped in Baghdad
A Baghdad correspondent for Radio Free Iraq was reported missing
on October 22. She was last seen on her way to an interview but never arrived. Police found the dead body of her driver, shot and abandoned in the street.
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Copyright © 2007. RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. "RFE/RL Review" is a weekly compilation of the best programming produced by the 19 services of the RFE/RL broadcast network. RFE/RL broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of programming a week in 28 languages to 21 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia.
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