Why Azerbaijan must host RFE/RL?

Azer Hasret

Azer Hasret

By Azer Hasret, azer@azerhasret.com

Azerbaijani law enforcement bodies started an investigation in regard to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Baku bureau recently in December, 2014. And afterwards the bureau was closed and sealed off for investigation purposes. A bit later the Prosecutor General`s Office issued a press-release which reads that there are quite enough evidences for sealing off the bureau premises. This is needed for fair and objective investigative processes.

As expected, many international human rights organizations reacted angrily to the case. All of them stated that this is one more attack on free media and freedom of expression.

The US State Department reacted as well. The same reaction of course.

But no one asks a question – why Azerbaijan must host RFE/RL? Indeed, it is interesting why the US need a radio channel bureau based so far from its borders and broadcasting in the language which is not understandable to US listeners?

We know the answer. And we would like to shed a light on the issue.

RFE/RL gets its origins from Radio Free Europe which was launched in 1949 to effect Eastern European countries under controlled by the USSR. The aim was to destroy communism and end up with Soviet influence in those countries.

Then, 4 years later, in 1953 was launched one more channel called Radio Liberty. Its aim was likewise but the geography was a bit different. The new channel served to dissolve the Soviet Union itself. That’s why it started to broadcast in national languages like Azerbaijani and others, which are very different from Russian.

Both radio channels were launched by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), controlled and financed as well up to 1972. So it is obvious that those radio channels served not only US interests, but US intelligence interests as well.

This is understandable as well. Because the US, superpower in the Western hemisphere wanted to stay alone on the world politics.

In 1976 those 2 radio channels merged into one under the title of RFE/RL.

And beginning from 1972 the finances come from not CIA as before, but from the US Congress. Financier was changed, but the money still come from US taxpayer pocket.

In 1991 the Soviets were totally destroyed and dissolved. All those 15 republics under the Russian-Soviet rule became independent.

The Eastern European countries became independent of the Soviet rule before that. Even the Warsaw Pact, which was contrary to NATO also was dissolved. The aim was achieved.

Yes, the aim, for which the RFE/RL was launched and continuously aired anti-Soviet propaganda, was achieved. The communism was over. The logic says that the radio also had do quit its existence. But not. It continued to air in national languages including Azerbaijani.

While asked, RFE/RL officials say that they are for democratization of societies, just creating alternative content for furthering freedom of expression. That would be OK if the countries for which the radio broadcast would not be open to democratization.

And among those countries is Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is a democracy. Not like the US or France neither UK. It is new democracy. It comes out from the Soviet heritage. Still many people in this country face difficulties to understand the free and fair coexistence. Because they were grown under the totalitarian Soviet regime. So we need new generation to be able to build total democracy with its all values. And this process needs a time.

Again let`s turn to logic. If the US`s aim by launching RFE/RL was to dissolve the Soviets, it was achieved already 24 years ago. So is there any meaning to keep this radio alive?

It seems the US has its own interests which are not easy for people in countries like Azerbaijan to understand. Now we understand: the US still use this radio channel as propaganda tool against the governments of newly independent democracies. And Azerbaijan is among these new democracies.

This time arises a question: why the government of Azerbaijan must tolerate a propaganda channel on its territory which is against it? Would the US allow a channel like RFE/RL to act in its territory and continuously conduct a propaganda against US interests? The answer is obvious: no!

So the RFE/RL in reality serves not the interests of freedom fighters, but the interests of foreign country which position sometimes differs from Azerbaijan ones. That’s why Azerbaijan had to end up with this foreign propaganda tool and there is nothing illegal to investigate RFE/RL activities.

If the RFE/RL is for freedom of expression furthering, there is no need for that in Azerbaijan. Because we are building free and democratic society and there is no need for foreign involvement.

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