WASHINGTON -- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Board of Directors has named Jamie Fly as the company’s President and CEO, effective February 16, 2021. Mr. Fly resumes his leadership of RFE/RL after serving in the role from August 2019 to June 2020.
“I am excited to return as RFE/RL President to lead the organization during these challenging times,” said Fly. He continued, “I am proud of the journalists and staff at RFE/RL who, despite the pressures of the pandemic and challenges to RFE/RL’s commitment to journalistic integrity and editorial independence, continued to focus on their mission on the front lines of media freedom to bring unbiased news and information to those who need it most. It will be an honor to be working side by side with them once again.”
“My colleagues and I on the RFE/RL Board of Directors are thrilled that Jamie has agreed to return to his duties in Prague,” said RFE/RL Board Chairperson, Amb. Karen Kornbluh. “From Belarus to Russia to Afghanistan and everywhere in between, RFE/RL journalists are playing a vital role to independently report news and offer a credible alternative to misinformation. Jamie’s understanding of geopolitics, his passion for democracy and human rights, and his appreciation for RFE/RL’s mission are needed more than ever as RFE/RL faces challenges across its coverage area.”
Fly, who was first appointed as RFE/RL President in August 2019, comes back to RFE/RL after serving as Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor to the President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), based in Berlin, Germany. A recognized foreign policy thought leader and proven manager, Fly served previously as a Senior Fellow at GMF, where he also was Director of the organization’s Future of Geopolitics and Asia programs and Co-Director of its Alliance for Securing Democracy. Fly has previously worked as a senior staffer in the U.S. Congress, on the National Security Council staff, and at the U.S. Department of Defense.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 41 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 6.5 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram/IGTV in FY2020. 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.
The past year, during which RFE/RL marked its seventieth anniversary of operations, has been especially eventful for the organization. Investigations into a massive money-laundering ring in Central Asia earned RFE/RL and its partners the prestigious Tom Renner Award from Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE); live coverage on the disputed presidential election in Belarus and subsequent months of pro-democracy protests captured the attention of millions (and the anger of the Belarusian government); public service reporting on the coronavirus pandemic (and related disinformation) was valued by local audiences seeking credible information otherwise unavailable from local governments; and RFE/RL returned to Hungary with a 21st-century update of its storied Hungarian Service, Szabad Európa. Additionally, RFE/RL is facing severe pressure in Russia as authorities impose significant fines for violations of labeling rules under its “foreign agent” media law, and move against reporters and freelancers for exposing information and covering news that the government would like to keep hidden.