(PRAGUE, Czech Republic) On August 16, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, will mark 55 years of broadcasting uncensored news and information to the people of Ukraine. Radio Svoboda is receiving many messages of congratulations from leading US policymakers.and officials.
“As Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission and a supporter of U.S.-funded international broadcasting, I congratulate the Ukrainian Service, Radio Svoboda, on its anniversary. For 55 years the service has provided unbiased and professional news in Ukrainian to the people of Ukraine and beyond.
During the period of Soviet domination, your service was a lifeline to Ukrainians struggling for their basic human rights and freedoms. Indeed, Radio Svoboda bolstered the spirits and resolve of imprisoned Ukrainian rights activists. When these courageous fighters of freedom knew they were not alone when they heard of your broadcasts about Western efforts, including those of the Helsinki Commission, being undertaken on their behalf.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union and the restoration of Ukraine’s independence, the Ukrainian Service has continued to provide objective, quality broadcasting as Ukraine consolidates democracy. Your independent voice has not always been welcomed by the Ukrainian authorities, which particularly challenged the service in the months leading up to the 2004 Orange Revolution. But the Ukrainian Service has always played and continues to play an important role in the country’s active media environment. Again, I congratulate Radio Svoboda for both its vital, historic and ongoing role.” -- Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman, US Helsinki Commission
“National independence and national memory are mutually reinforcing -- and that is especially important in the case of Ukraine, a nation that for centuries has been deprived of both. By keeping open for so many years the access of Ukrainians to the world at large, the Ukrainian service of RFE/RL has contributed directly to the emergence of a free Ukraine in a free Europe.” -- Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former US National Security Advisor
“As co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, I extend my heartfelt congratulations from America’s heartland to RFE/RL on this anniversary of radio service to Ukraine. Freedom’s light burns brightly thanks to the dedication of all who have contributed through the years to this wonderful service. Throughout its more than half century of service, RFE/RL has demonstrated time and again that information truly is power. Best wishes through the next 55 years.” -- Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), US House of Representatives - Co-Chair, Congressional Ukraine Caucus
“Many congratulations to Radio Svoboda on its 55th Anniversary! Radio Svoboda’s broadcasting has served as a reliable, pro-democratic news source for generations of Ukrainians. As Ukraine today works to build upon the bright promise of the Orange Revolution, Radio Svoboda continues the important work of advancing democracy’s fundamental values: a free press, free speech, and unencumbered access to information. May the continued growth of a free Ukrainian press be met with the growth of an independent and democratic Ukraine.” -- Sander Levin (D-MI), US House of Representatives - Co-Chair, Congressional Ukraine Caucus
“Congratulations Radio Svoboda for your 55th year broadcasting. Thank you for steadfastly providing millions of Ukrainians information and ideas free from communist censors and autocratic interference. From your initial 1954 broadcast of news into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic to airing Ukraine’s first political debate, your commitment to promoting liberty and support for Ukrainian civil society remains unparalleled among your contemporaries.” -- Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI),
US House of Representatives
“I want to thank all of you sincerely for the important work you are doing. For five and a half decades now the Ukrainian service has been providing the people of Ukraine uncensored and reliable news and information that literally millions of people have relied on to make informed decisions, big and small, about their lives and the lives of their families. There's no doubt in my mind: when people talk about Ukraine's path to freedom and independence, you've played an important role and continue to do so.” -- D. Jeffrey Hirschberg, Governor, United States Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
"I want to congratulate the RFE-RL Ukranian Service as it marks 55 years of broadcasting. During this time you have kept the light of freedom burning for Ukranians as you and those who came before you broadcast accurate news and information to people who were denied a true picture of what was happening in their own country and the world. Your efforts have been an important contributor to making
Ukraine the free and independent country it is today. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do everyday." -- Steve Simmons, Governor, BBG
“For 55 years, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service has provided the Ukrainian nation and state a critical service in the peoples' pursuit of separate identify, an open society, national independence and sovereignty. The radio's directors, journalists, engineers, assistants in Kyiv, throughout the country, in neighboring countries, and in Prague have assembled high quality and pertinent daily reports of accurate and relevant news, information, and commentary including about Ukraine's unique classical music over the generations. This reporting has contributed to the evolution of a free and democratic Ukraine. Although I regret not attending today's celebration, I look forward to participating in the events surrounding your 60th anniversary. Congratulations to a great service and great people.” -- Tom Dine, Former RFE/RL President
“Congratulations on reaching a milestone anniversary in the history of the Ukrainian Service! Fifty-five years of independent, surrogate broadcasting to Ukraine surely makes the Service one of the longest standing institutions of independent Ukraine. Through our work at the National Endowment for Democracy we have often come across people who regarded the Radio Liberty and the Ukrainian Service in particular, as a lifeline to freedom and the Western world from which they were cut off before 1991. When the breakup of the Soviet Union finally came, the Ukrainian service was vindicated in its focus on the separate culture and language that formed the foundation for the politics of the NewIndependentState. And we know that the Service has been maintaining high standards of reporting and advancing democratic ideals ever since.
We at the National Endowment for Democracy salute your efforts and thank you for blazing a trail that made it easier for institutions such as ours to continue to work with you in partnership to consolidate democratic ideas and values in Ukraine.”
Mnohaya Lita!" -- Carl Gershman , President, National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and Nadia M. Diuk, Senior Director for Europe and Eurasia, NED
“Congratulations on so many years of success. At a time when media freedom and the democratic idea are being challenged within Ukraine and in its region, your work as a critical source of independent information is as valuable as ever.” -- Christopher Walker, Director of Research, Freedom House