(Washington, DC--June 8, 2002) RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine accepted today the "Freedom of Speech Medal," presented by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute at a ceremony in Middelburg, the Netherlands. The Medal was presented to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in recognition of "its ceaseless support for the cornerstone of democracy--the free exchange of ideas."
In his comments, Dine noted that he accepted the Medal "not only on behalf of the organization as it exists today, but also on behalf of its achievements during the Cold War and its importance as a fighting force in promoting freedom and democracy in the future, applying the highest journalistic standards of accuracy, balance and objectivity." Dine reviewed the lack of media freedom in much of Eastern Europe and discussed the challenges RFE/RL faces in its "most difficult, but perhaps most thrilling, battle yet for free speech: in areas populated by Muslims in Southeast Europe, Russia, the northern and southern Caucasus, Central Asia and Southwest Asia."
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Freedom Medals, awarded in the U.S. since 1950 and internationally since 1982, are presented to Americans in Hyde Park, NY and in alternate years to international figures at the Roosevelt Study Center in Middelburg, the Netherlands. Other 2002 Freedom Medal winners include former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo, former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and Egyptian religious scholar Nasr H. Abu Zayad. Previous winners of the Freedom of Speech Medal include CNN, The New York Times, Amnesty International, and the Spanish newspaper "El Pais".
The full text of Dine's remarks are available on RFE/RL's website, www.rferl.org