WASHINGTON -- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has announced plans to launch news services in Bulgaria and Romania in a bid to strengthen the media landscape in both countries.
In both cases, it marks a return for RFE/RL: the company previously served countries across Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and Romania, prior to their joining the European Union and NATO. Service to Bulgaria ended in 2004 and to Romania in 2008.
Says RFE/RL President Thomas Kent, “We hope in particular that our coverage, carried out by local journalists, will help the growth of a free press, promote democratic values and institutions, and inform discussion in both countries of their place in NATO, the EU and other Western organizations. We look forward to partnering with local independent media and civil society.”
Government officials, civil society representatives and journalists in both countries have expressed concern that disinformation, corruption, and social division are undermining their political systems.
Beginning in December 2018, RFE/RL will provide multi-media reporting and analysis in Bulgarian and Romanian and partner with local media to amplify existing projects that promote public accountability and debunk false news.
RFE/RL already has a deep commitment to the Balkan region, with bureaus in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It also has an acclaimed Romanian-language service for Moldova.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to 26 million people in 25 languages and 20 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed over 1.5 billion times on Facebook and YouTube in 2017. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.