BBG Governor Victor Ashe traveled to Prague from June 18-20 to update his first-hand knowledge of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (REF/RL) operations and meet with Czech and U.S. officials, including Czech First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jiri Schneider and Political Counselor and Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Prague William Silkworth.
Commending RFE/RL Acting President Kevin Klose’s leadership, Governor Ashe told the BBG’s governing board, “I have spent a good deal of time speaking with staff and journalists here in Prague, and the change in morale and in attitude is truly a sea-change. The ship here in Prague has been righted, it’s been stabilized. There is now enthusiasm and a joy in the building to carry on the mission, which is the foundation of Radio Free Europe.”
Ashe, who also serves as Vice Chair of RFE/RL’s Board of Directors, met with news executives in charge of all 19 RFE/RL Services, which provide content via numerous broadcast and digital platforms to more than 23 million people speaking 28 languages in 21 countries. Ashe also met with a trio of young journalists working at RFE/RL as part of the Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship program, a joint project of RFE/RL and the Czech Foreign Ministry.
From Prague, Ashe traveled on to Moscow where will meet with RFE/RL and Voice of America journalists, as well as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Russia Sheila Gwaltney and with prominent Russian human rights activists including Lyudmila Alekseyeva and Sergei Kovalyov.
“I am looking forward to meeting with the Russian Language Service in Moscow and seeing how it is doing with its new leadership and personnel changes,” Ashe said.