Source description last updated: 26 June 2020

In brief: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a broadcasting organisation created by the American anti-communist organisation National Committee for a Free Europe in 1949 and is funded by the U.S. Congress. It provides news to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Coverage on

Media reports for countries of priorities A-C.

Daily coverage on


“The mission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is to promote democratic values and institutions by reporting the news in countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. RFE/RL’s journalists provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

Based on the conviction that the first requirement of democracy is a well informed citizenry:

  1. RFE/RL’s independent journalism provides fair and objective news, analysis, and discussion of domestic, regional, and international issues crucial to healthy democracies and free markets.
  2. RFE/RL strengthens civil societies by projecting democratic and pluralistic values.
  3. RFE/RL combats all forms of intolerance and promotes mutual understanding among peoples.
  4. RFE/RL provides a model for local media, assists in training to enhance media professionalism and independence, and develops partnerships with local media outlets.” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Website, Mission Statement, undated)


“RFE/RL, Inc. is a private, nonprofit corporation, funded by the U.S. Congress through the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an independent federal government agency that oversees all U.S. civilian international media.” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Website, Management and Governance, undated)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s budget for the fiscal year of 2019 was $124 million. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Website, About Us, undated)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. (coverage through Radio Free Asia (RFA), RFE/RL's Armenia Service, Radio Farda and others)

Thematic scope: News on political, security, economic and other important developments in the region, human rights violations, conflicts, ethnic and religious hostilities.


“We report in 26 languages to 22 countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia. With over 600 full-time journalists, 750 freelancers, and 20 local bureaus, RFE/RL is one of the most comprehensive news operations in the world.” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Website, RFE/RL Language Services, undated)

“In our reporting, we insist on accuracy, and clearly correct errors when they occur. We report with humanity and endorse charity and tolerance. We respect and listen to our audiences. We are transparent about the sources of our information. We grant anonymity only to news sources whose identity must be protected due to a clear danger of retribution and whose information is of significant importance and otherwise unobtainable. When citing confidential sources, we mention why the source insists upon anonymity and describe to the extent possible how the source is in a position to know the information in question. We do not pay for interviews or receive payment from those we interview. [...] RFE/RL remains editorially independent from any government, political party, opposition group, émigré organization, commercial or other special-interest organization, or religious body, whether inside or outside its coverage area.” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Website, Principles of Ethical Journalism, undated)

Languages of publications:

Albanian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chechen, Crimean Tatar, Dari, English, Georgian, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Montenegrin, Pashto, Persian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Tajik, Tatar, Turkmen, Ukrainian, Uzbek

Further reading / links:

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Website, Experts, undated

IPS - Inter Press Service: Neo-cons Spinning Hearts and Minds, 24 June 2007 (published on Center for Media and Democracy/PR, 29 June 2007)

Puddington, Arch. Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, 2003

Cummings, Richard. The Ether War: “Hostile Intelligence Activities Directed Against Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and the Émigré Community in Munich during the Cold War”, in: Journal of Transatlantic Studies. Vol. 6., No. 2, 2008

BBC News: Fears over US media independence as Trump-appointed chief fires editors, 19 June 2020 (accessed 26 June 2020)

New York Times: New Conservative Media Chief Dismisses Heads of U.S.-Funded News Outlets, 17 June 2020 (accessed 26 June 2020)


All links accessed 19 February 2020, unless indicated otherwise.