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RFE/RL Review November 5, 2004

The Best of RFE/RL Broadcast Service Reporting
Week of October 31 - November 6, 2004

Elections in Ukraine and the United States dominated RFE/RL programming in all 28 of its broadcast languages this past week. Throughout our broadcast region, listeners were avidly interested in the process and outcome of both presidential elections. All RFE/RL services expanded live programs and continuously updated newscasts and websites with new information. Daily interviews with experts and round-tables discussions illuminated political conduct, customs and practices largely unfamiliar to RFE/RL's non-European audiences. RFE/RL services, with their comprehensive network of reporters and bureaus located throughout the broadcast region, were also able to quickly assess local reaction to breaking election news and provide a platform for the views of local citizens, government and opposition groups.

U.S. Election Coverage

A common theme in exclusive RFE/RL interviews was a desire for better relations with the United States, regardless of who won the election. RFE/RL's Russian Service was on the air live when the news came that President George W. Bush had won re-election -- and as a result could make the announcement and get instant reaction to the news from their in-studio guest, former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev. Kozyrev said Russians need to learn Bush's "system of values" and that "cooperation is easier when you clearly see the coordinates" ( Some Russian listeners called in to express concern that, with a strengthened mandate, a re-elected President Bush will set America on the path to conquest and world domination. In earlier discussions, Russian experts from Moscow and St. Petersburg linked up via RFE/RL and in another interactive program, U.S. political experts answered questions live, via telephone link, from listeners in Russia.
Russian Service coverage of the US presidential election can be found (in Russian) on the service's website, at

** The Director of RFE/RL's Russian Service, Maria Klein, may be reached by email at <>.

Radio Free Afghanistan covered the U.S. elections extensively for their audiences inside Afghanistan. Many Afghans were curious about the U.S. election process and how it compared with their own just completed, historical first presidential election. On Election Day, November 2, guests of Radio Free Afghanistan in RFE/RL's Washington studio answered live questions from listeners calling in from all parts of the world. Another call-in show, moderated out of RFE/RL headquarters in Prague, linked Afghan scholars in Kabul and Afghan-American academics in California and Virginia to talk about the impact of the U.S. vote on Afghan and regional affairs.
Radio Free Afghanistan coverage (in Dari and Pashto) of the U.S. elections may be viewed at the service's website,

** The Acting Director of Radio Free Afghanistan, Alexander Lukashuk, may be reached by email at <>.

Radio Free Iraq mounted a massive 10-hour marathon of election programming on November 3, drawing reaction from its correspondents in the Middle East and offering updates on the U.S. vote count every half hour from 5 AM to 3 PM Baghdad time. To read Radio Free Iraq's coverage (in Arabic) of the U.S. elections, visit RFI's Web site at

** The Acting Director of Radio Free Iraq, Sergey Danilochkin, may be reached by email at <>.

RFE/RL's Tajik Service provided listeners in Tajikistan with comprehensive coverage of the U.S. elections, featuring reporting from the U.S. as well as Dushanbe, Khujand, Khatlon, Kabul and Tashkent. On November 1, Tajiks informally polled by RFE/RL demonstrated keen interest in the U.S. elections. Many said they would like Senator John Kerry to win because they felt he might be able to end the war in Iraq. Other Tajiks expressed support for President George Bush in gratitude for toppling the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and creating, they said, a more stable situation there, thus improving security in Central Asia. Tajik parliamentarians and religious leaders, interviewed by RFE/RL after the U.S. election results were announced, called for less confrontation and more negotiation between the U.S. and the Islamic world.
Tajik Service coverage (in Tajik) of the U.S. elections may be viewed at the service's website,

** The Director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, Massoumeh Torfeh, may be reached by email at <>.

Ukraine Election Coverage

RFE/RL Ukrainian Service correspondents in Kyiv are maintaining a vigil at the Central Electoral Commission, which has still not completed the vote tally six days after the October 31 presidential election in Ukraine. The Commission stopped the process on November 2 with nearly 98% of votes counted, giving a virtual tie to the two leading candidates -- Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leader, former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko. European Union leaders, meeting in Brussels on Friday, criticized Ukraine and urged the government to ensure that the November 21 run-off is free and fair. The EU criticism comes after international observers said last Sunday's vote and the election campaign were flawed.
The Ukrainian Service covered the voting with a network of some 60 stringers, located in all important regions and cities, including Crimea, Lviv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Kyiv. The Service provided live coverage of the vote during a three-hour election special on Sunday night, with additional expanded live programming the next day, November 1. Outside Ukraine, the Service had correspondents in New York, Moscow, Brussels and other capitals for interviews with diaspora and international reaction.
Ukrainian Service coverage (in Ukrainian) of the October 31 election can be viewed on the service's "Elections 2004" website, at

** The Director of RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, Alexander Narodetsky, may be reached by email at <>.

President Boris Tadic, in an exclusive interview November 4 with RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS), urged that Serbian war criminals be arrested and handed over to the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. This is the first time Tadic has publicly supported such action, breaking with the policy of Serb Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica who has refused to hand over indicted war criminals to The Hague.
During the interview, recorded as part of President Tadic's appearance on the SSALS's weekly "Online with..." interview program and broadcast November 5, Tadic criticized Kostunica's approach, asserting that "We have to cooperate with the Hague tribunal; there is no doubt about it. The statement (of the government) that Serbia will not arrest indicted war criminals could have a detrimental effect on our citizens, society as a whole, furthermore on Serbian national interests. For that reason I call upon the government to take full responsibility."
During the two-hour session in his Belgrade office, President Tadic, with RFE/RL correspondents Srdjan Kusovac and Mensur Camo, answered 50 of more than 200 questions received via email from listeners throughout the region of former Yugoslavia and from abroad. Serbian visitors to the website asked Tadic about the tensions in his relations with Prime Minister Kostunica; Montenegro's aspirations for independence; what would be the fate of Serbs in Kosovo if that province gained independence; and when the case of assassinated Serbian Prime Minister Djindjic might be solved. Many queries came from Bosnia, asking about Serbia's responsibility for the bloody warfare of the 1990s; the fate of General Ratko Mladic, an accused war criminal still at large and believed to be under the protection of the Serbian Army; and Serbian support for the Republika Srpska. Ethnic Albanians from Kosovo also took part in the online interview, asking Tadic mostly about mass graves of Albanian victims in Serbia and crimes committed against Albanians during the 1999 Kosovo War.
The SSALS' weekly "On-Line with..." program first aired in September and became an immediate multimedia success. Featuring celebrities, politicians and leading public figures, other guests have included Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, former Republika Srpska Prime Minister Milorad Dodik, Hague Tribunal spokesperson Florence Hartmann and former Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic. Following the sessions on the Internet, the SSALS tapes an interview with the guest for broadcast on its radio program as well as the service's weekly "TV Liberty" television show, and posts the interview on its website.
The SSALS broadcast interview with Serbian President Boris Tadic (in Serbian) may be read and heard on the service's website, at The service's "Online with..." interview with President Tadic is also available on the SSALS website, at

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

Listeners to RFE/RL's Tajik Service have been sending queries to the Service, asking for more information about the International Rotary Club --who are Rotarians, are they members of a religious sect or a secret lodge? In response, the Tajik Service interviewed former aid worker Nancy Pasternak, who is sponsoring the opening of the first Rotary Club in Tajikistan.
In the interview, broadcast this past week on the service's "Hamnafas" (Global Link) program, Pasternak said she wants to focus attention on the problems Tajiks face in their post-Soviet, post-war society and engage the international community of Rotarians to help resolve them. This will be a new link between Tajikistan and the international community, she said.
Tajikistan will be the 167th country opening its doors to the International Rotary Club, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2005. Pasternak said in the interview that she hopes the Rotary Club in Dushanbe will launch projects to deal with poverty, health, hunger, illiteracy, and pollution in Tajikistan, as well as organize international student exchanges, and cultural programs.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Tajik Service, Massoumeh Torfeh, may be reached by email at <>.

RFE/RL in the News

The U.S. State Department expressed concern November 4 that a Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) news show has been taken off the television airwaves in Armenia. U.S. diplomat Paul Jones said, in a statement to the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna: "We have seen suggestions that the decision to cancel this program was made in response to political pressure on the station manager... We would hope that this program will find a broadcast opportunity in the immediate future; this would demonstrate that Armenia is a state where freedom of the media is acknowledged and respected, consistent with the OSCE commitments we have all undertaken." (
"Azatutiun," a new television program featuring news and analyses from RFE/RL's Armenian Service, was abruptly pulled from the Armenian television station Kentron on October 13, three days after it debuted to rave reviews.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Hrair Tamrazian, may be reached by email at <>.

RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service launched an e-mail ad campaign in Azerbaijan this week and received an immediate response from hundreds of young listeners. E-mails were sent November 2 to more than 80,000 people nationwide, to promote the service's Azeri-language website. The recipient addresses were taken as a bloc from the "" Internet domain.
The email message was a simple one: the address of the Azerbaijani Service's web site on an attractively designed poster with a comment box. Within 24 hours, the number of visitors to jumped more than 600 percent and Azerbaijani Service Director Abbas Djavadi began receiving a flood of e-mail comments, to each of which he is responding personally. Djavadi says most are from young listeners in the Baku area, all of whom express appreciation for RFE/RL's Azeri language broadcasts. Several of the comments thank RFE/RL for discussing topics listeners have no chance to hear anywhere else.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Azeri Service, Abbas Djavadi, may be reached by email at <>.

Kosovo Public Radio, the most popular Albanian language radio station in the UN-administered province, aired a three-hour midnight call-in show October 30th, dedicated exclusively to RFE/RL's Albanian-language broadcasts to Kosovo.
RFE/RL's Melazim Koci, head of the South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service (SSALS) Kosovo Subunit, was invited to host the program and answer listeners' questions. The KPR producer said that more than 150 calls were received from listeners, who wanted to learn details about the staff and work of the Kosovo Subunit. Callers were also generous with praise for RFE/RL broadcasts, saying they gave listeners timely, objective and accurate information. They particularly appreciated programs presenting opposing views on an issue -- many listeners said the news and information on RFE/RL could not be found elsewhere in Kosovo.
One listener from the Kosovo capital Prishtina said RFE/RL was a voice of hope during the 1999 Kosovo war; another listener from the town of Gnjilane called in to say RFE/RL is a jewel in the crown of Kosovo radio journalism. Some callers demonstrated a knowledge of particular programs and moderators, showing they were regular listeners and very familiar with RFE/RL. Other callers gave suggestions for topics RFE/RL should cover (in the areas of education, health care, and corruption) and for changes of format. Calls came not only from Kosovo, but also from Albanian diaspora communities in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Norway.

** The Director of RFE/RL's South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service, Omer Karabeg, may be reached by email at <>.

Kazakhstan's National Security Committee (KNB), the post-Soviet nation's security service, has entered a program of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service in a media competition it is sponsoring for the best anti-terrorism and anti-extremism program in any media.
RFE/RL's Bureau Chief in Almaty, Aizhan Koshkenova, received a phone call on November 1 from the Press Office of the Committee, informing her that one of her weekly "Law and Society" program, aired in August 2004, had been chosen as one of the best programs covering terrorism and extremism in Kazakhstan. The program featured a story about the sentencing of two suspected members of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir party, as well as a segment about a member the Eastern Turkistan Movement (which represents ethnic Uighurs) and one examining freedom of religion in Kazakhstan. Members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Kazakh citizens and a KNB official were interviewed for the program.

** The Director of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Merhat Sharipzhan, may be reached by email at <>.

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Copyright (c) 2004. 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 20 countries in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and Central and Southwestern Asia.

Managing Editor: Sonia Winter <>

For more information about any of the stories mentioned in "RFE/RL Review," or to learn more about RFE/RL, please contact Martins Zvaners at <> or by calling +1-202-457-6948.