Archive for December 29th, 2012

Saturday, December 29, 2012

RFE/Radio Liberty: Broadcasting Board of Governors orders Cease-Fire, Fires Steven Korn

America's Space Shuttle Program, featured on a VoA QSL Card of 1986

Mr. Korn goes on a vacation. Click on this picture for Bachrach’s blogpost. (VoA QSL Card of 1986.)

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has reportedly fired Steven Korn, president and CEO at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. However, the governors had been in no hurry to inform the press, Judy Bachrach wrote in a blogpost on Christmas eve, so as to encourage the press (i.e., me) to linger in order to discover what was bubbling beneath the blather. While much of the meltdown of Radio Liberty’s Russian service could be attributed to Vladimir Putin, Korn had aggravated things, not least with the summary sacking of 41 seasoned Russian journalists, Bachrach wrote. So did an alledged closeness of leading members of the Russian service. Russian dissidents, and Mikhail Gorbachev, had complained about that.

Korn would formally keep his position until February, but won’t be allowed to fire any more members of RFE/Radio Liberty, Bachrach wrote and told her readers that she welcomes sources for further information. Korn took the position as RFE/RL’s CEO on June 3, 2011.

RIA Novosti‘s German service quotes BBG member Victor Ashe, also by drawing on Bachrach’s blogpost, as saying that Steve Korn was a tremendous disappointment as the No. 1 person at RFERL, but ignores all the content of her post that is critical of Putin and the Russian authorities.

The summary firing of the Russian journalists had met with a lot of criticism in recent months, among others from human rights activist Pavel Litvinov and from David Satter.

But Russia wasn’t necessarily the only minefield for Korn. Industrial-relations issues apparently emerged in the Armenian and Croatian services, too, and earlier this month, Lev Roitman, a retired RFE/RL senior commentator, reportedly appealed to the BBG to resign collectively, in an open letter quoted apparently republished by Orer, an Armenian magazine based in Prague.The open letter did have some words of praise for Victor Ashe, however, who – alas unsuccessfully – tries to bring some political and human sense to BBG’s endeavors.

Ashe, a Republican and a former ambassador to Poland, had also been commended by supporters of Voice of America‘s (VoA) Mandarin service, a year ago.



» RFE/RL job contracts criticized, June 24, 2012
» An open letter from Anna Karapetyan, Mediamax, March 16, 2012


» Actively involved, U.S. News & World Report/freeM, Nov 2012


Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 in Review (1): The Imperfect Photograph

« see second photo there


Spring festival at home.

I went out every day, and took a photograph of Grandma there. This is the one I like most, although, unfortunately, it’s blurred.

Grandma doesn’t smile easily, in line with the restraint of the older generation in the old families. She didn’t want me to take photos of her, but I kept insisting. As I lifted my camera over and over again and asked her to smile, she’d smile as if she couldn’t help it – she seemed to smile in a quizzical way, amused by my stubbornness.

I like her smile on this portrait best. It’s a slight smile of someone who has read the state of human affairs very closely.

We moved here twenty-four years ago. The wall behind her seems to want to match her age. For two years, hearsay has been that there will be demolitions here. I certainly hate the idea of having to part.

Hu Cheng (胡成), photographer and freelance writer.

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