Latvian State Archive looks back on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 60 years of service

12.05.2011. 19:15

This month marks the 60th anniversary of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and on this occasion several events are organized in Prague. Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty broadcasting in Eastern Europe, Latvian State Archive has gathered information about Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty activities, Latvian section and Soviet Union’s actions to disrupt Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty operation. The information compiled by the Latvian State Archive and documents reflecting the attempts to disrupt Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty broadcasting are available at: http://www.lvarhivs.gov.lv/index3.php?id=1150.

Since the beginning of Cold War Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty ensured a free flow of information and free journalism. Radio Free Europe started broadcasting to Czech Republic in 1951, whereas the Latvian section was established and regular broadcasting to Latvia commenced only in 1975. Latvian emigrants actively participated in the work of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, for example, Uldis Grava who later became the director general of Latvian Television and was elected a member of parliament in Latvia, was the Director for Marketing and Affiliate Development at Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty from 1996 to 2002.

The Soviet Union considered that the radio undermined the unity of the socialist system and Soviet society, and formed an interfering network to hamper foreign radio waves. Despite the suppression, the station had a huge impact in introducing changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. Listening to and recording of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty broadcasts during the Soviet era, quite often was used as a pretext to bring an action against dissidents in Latvia. Similarly, information on legal proceedings against the dissidents was broadcasted on Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty waves.

In autumn 2002 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty stopped broadcasting in Czech, whereas on 31 December 2003 it stopped broadcasting in Latvia.