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RFE/RL Pays Tribute To Coronavirus First-Responders In The Czech Republic


Czech Republic – A view of the RFE/RL building at Hagibor, Prague.

(PRAGUE) As Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists work at risk and overtime in 23 countries to report essential news and information about the coronavirus, RFE/RL is recognizing the first-responders in the Czech Republic, where it is headquartered, who are making extraordinary contributions during the pandemic to safeguard public health.

RFE/RL, which moved to Prague in 1995 at the invitation of then-President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel, has made donations to the Vinohradská Hospital (Vinohradská Nemocnice) and the Olga Havlova Foundation.

“As we mark 25 years in Prague this year, we feel only gratitude toward the Czech Republic and appreciation for the people of this great city. They have welcomed us and supported us – and helped our journalists and our families stay healthy – all these years,” said RFE/RL President Jamie Fly. “Our work has been enriched by the many Czech staff who are part of our team, and our journalists continue to be inspired by the freedom-loving spirit of the Czech people. The coronavirus pandemic presents us with an opportunity to say thank you, and to be here for our neighbors as they have been here for us for so many years.”

The Olga Havlova Foundation was established in 1992 to help disabled, abandoned, and discriminated people integrate into society and enjoy the right to a dignified life. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Foundation launched a Seniors’ Support Fund to ensure that senior citizens are supplied with food, medicines, and medical assistance during their quarantine.

The Vinohradská hospital, which marks 118 years of medical service on May 11, serves the needs of citizens of Prague 3 and Prague 10, focusing on trauma, burn treatment, oncology, and cardiology. It is a renowned teaching hospital, operating in partnership with Charles University.

RFE/RL moved to Prague from Munich in 1995, standing up broadcast operations in the former Czechoslovak Federal Assembly building on Wenceslas Square. With the move, RFE/RL and Czech Radio collaborated on the launch of a new channel, Czech Radio 6, under the leadership of former RFE/RL Czechoslovak Service Director Pavel Pechacek. The channel became fully independent on September 30, 2002. In 2009, RFE/RL relocated to its current Prague 10 address.

RFE/RL’s longstanding partnership with the Czech Republic is reflected in two joint programs, the Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship and the Jiri Dienstbier Journalism Fellowship, which it has implemented since 2011 in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fellowships, which have trained over 40 participants over the past decade, provide mentoring and support for aspiring independent journalists in the European Union’s Eastern Partnership countries and Russia, and the Western Balkans, respectively.

About RFE/RL

RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed over 3.6 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2019. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.

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