Radio Free Europe back in Romania and Bulgaria
Radio Free Europe is to resume broadcasting in Romania and Bulgaria. Financed by the US Congress, the broadcaster ceased its operations in Bulgaria in 2004 and in Romania in 2008. Now it has announced that it wants to help counter fake news and promote quality journalism in the two countries again. How honourable are its intentions?
A chance for quality journalism
Philologist Mircea Morariu welcomes in the blog of the daily paper Adevărul the resumption of broadcasting in Romania:
“We would be right to suspect that this decision reflects the concern of US democratic institutions over the setbacks our country has suffered in terms of democracy, the rule of law and independence and quality of the press. ... There are hardly any print media outlets left and the online editions of the newspapers are under all kinds of pressure. Truly independent websites are having a hard time surviving. The vast majority of television broadcasters are submitting to the rule of the PSD and Alde. ... Radio Free Europe's decision to resume broadcasting in Romania represents a chance for balanced, responsible, quality journalism.”
Nothing but US propaganda
The news website fakti.bg voices doubts about the motives being cited for the return of Radio Free Europe to Bulgaria and Romania:
“The station stopped broadcasting in 2004 after Bulgaria joined Nato on the grounds that we no longer needed its help on the road to democracy. Its return now indicates the contrary. It seems the US government - and many Bulgarians - feel we are living in a pseudo democracy. Nevertheless the real goal of 'Free Europe' isn't to teach us about democracy. ... The broadcaster was always a US propaganda tool aimed at pushing through the priorities set by US foreign policy - which in our case is limiting Russia's influence.”