WASHINGTON, D.C. — During visits to Georgia and Romania last week, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President and CEO Jamie Fly advocated for the importance of independent media in the face of increasing Russian disinformation and efforts to politicize information.
Fly met with top government and civil society leaders in both countries; and spent time with journalists at RFE/RL’s Georgian Service, Radio Tavispubela, and Romanian Service, Europa Liberă. Working in polarized media environments, they are delivering deeply reported investigative work, as well as news about Russia’s war against Ukraine and the profound regional implications.
“As Russia wages war in Ukraine, Moscow’s efforts to undermine democracy across the region are escalating,” said RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly. “I saw first-hand in Tbilisi and Bucharest the powerful role that our commitment to reporting the truth plays in countering the corrosive effects of disinformation. RFE/RL is committed to expanding our work in these key markets.”
While in Romania, Fly met with Prime Minister Nicolae Ciucă, former Prime Minister Ludovic Orban, President of the Save Romania Union Cătălin Drulă, and President of the Social Democratic Party Marcel Ciolacu. In these meetings, he discussed how RFE/RL is contributing to Romania’s democratic dialogue. He also spoke with civil society representatives and academics about the state of Romania’s free press.
During his visit to Georgia, Fly participated in the Tbilisi International Conference, hosted by the McCain Institute and the Economic Policy Research Center, where he spoke about RFE/RL’s strategy to counter Russian malign influence and disinformation in Europe and Eurasia. He also met Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili as well as representatives of opposition parties and the Georgian Media Advocacy Coalition.
RFE/RL’s Georgian Service, known locally as Radio Tavisupleba, is a trusted source of politically and financially independent journalism in a country where much of the media is highly politicized. The Service is a standard-bearer of professional, innovative, and independent journalism, and a unique source of reporting on minority rights in Georgia. In 2021, the Service’s websites were visited more than 25 million times, and its videos received 75 million views on Facebook.
RFE/RL’s Romanian Service, known locally as Europa Liberă, was relaunched in January 2019 to provide accurate and balanced coverage of the most important local, regional, and national news and events. In 2021, the Service’s website received more than 5.5 million visits and received 12.5 million views on Facebook.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 37 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 7 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2021. 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.