Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a United States government-funded broadcasting organization that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East "where the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed". RFE/RL is a 501(c)(3) corporation that receives U.S. government funding and is supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an agency overseeing all U.S. federal government international broadcasting services.
During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe (RFE) was broadcast to Soviet satellite countries and Radio Liberty (RL) targeted the Soviet Union. RFE was founded as an anti-communist propaganda source in 1949 by the National Committee for a Free Europe. RL was founded two years later and the two organizations merged in 1976. Communist governments frequently sent agents to infiltrate RFE's headquarters. Radio transmissions into the Soviet Union were regularly jammed by the KGB. RFE/RL received funds from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) until 1972. During RFE's earliest years of existence, the CIA and U.S. Department of State issued broad policy directives, and a system evolved where broadcast policy was determined through negotiation between them and RFE staff.
RFE/RL was headquartered at Englischer Garten in Munich, Germany, from 1949 to 1995. In 1995; the headquarters were moved to Prague in the Czech Republic. European operations have been significantly reduced since the end of the Cold War. In addition to the headquarters, the service maintains 20 local bureaus in countries throughout their broadcast region, as well as a corporate office in Washington, D.C. RFE/RL broadcasts in 28 languages to 21 countries including Armenia, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
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