(Washington, DC--August 4, 2002) In an effort to provide the people of war-torn Afghanistan with a coordinated, easy-to-find and easy-to-identify 24-hour stream of news, features and music in their native Dari and Pashto languages, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's (RFE/RL) Radio Free Afghanistan service and the Dari and Pashto Services of the Voice of America (VOA) have created a new joint program that was heard for the first time today on both shortwave and FM in Afghanistan.
RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine hailed the new, coordinated RFE/RL-VOA Afghan radio stream as "Another demonstration of how RFE/RL and VOA can combine forces to better serve our listeners while maintaining each U.S. international broadcaster's distinctive and complementary mission."
VOA Director Robert Reilly added that "The new, joint VOA-RFE/RL Pashto and Dari program stream into Afghanistan is an extraordinarily important development in our efforts to bring the latest news and information to the Afghan people. We are delighted to be working so closely with our colleagues at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty at this critical time."
The new program, according to Radio Free Afghanistan Director Andres Ilves, features twelve hours each of programs created by RFE/RL and VOA every day -- marking an increase of 1.5 hours per day of RFE/RL programming to Afghanistan. All programs are scheduled to start at the top of the hour in Afghanistan, with Pashto programs always available on the odd-numbered hour, while Dari programs will be broadcast during even-numbered hours of the day. All programs will share common sign-on music and other production elements and a common program clock throughout the day. RFE/RL and VOA are also dramatically increasing the amount of interaction and coordination among their Afghanistan-based journalists and among managers based in Prague and Washington, respectively.
The new 24-hour continuous stream of U.S. international broadcasting to the people of Afghanistan can be heard on shortwave and in Kabul on 100.5 FM. RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan broadcasts are available live and on-demand on the Internet at www.rferl.org/bd/af.
Radio Free Afghanistan commenced broadcasting on January 30, 2002, as part of RFE/RL's response to the challenges of the September 11, 2001 attack on America and the war on terrorism. VOA has broadcast continuously in Dari and Pashto to the people of Afghanistan since the early 1980's.