International news groups make connection to Liberty Hill

With more than 700 journalists working worldwide in 21 countries and broadcasting in 28 languages, the Google alerts of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty are constantly notifying the news organizations where they are get-ting secondary news coverage. Someone in the agency’s Washington D.C. international headquarters forwarded an internet hit that included the Radio Free Liberty Hill news website and The Independent.

“Once I saw the microphone in the logo of Radio Free Liberty Hill and we clicked on it I was thinking ‘what the heck is that and where in the heck is that?’” said Karisue M. Wyson, Senior Press Officer for both organizations.

When the organization’s leaders read that the local news website www.radiofreelibertyhill.com was named in honor of their organization, which is celebrating 60 years of delivering the news abroad, they contacted the publishers in Liberty Hill and asked for an interview, which will be conducted later this week and will be aired and used by Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty on their social media sites as well.

“This is very exciting for us and for Liberty Hill,” said Shelly Wilkison, President of Free State Media, which owns The Independent and Radio Free Liberty Hill. “This serves as a great teaching moment for our high school news interns who may not have realized the significance of the name and who it is intended to honor.”

“Radio Free,” says Ms. Wyson, “conjures up the idea of journalists working very hard, this merry band of people bringing the real news and reporting it to people who can’t get it anywhere else.”

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty were established in 1951 after World War II had ended and the Cold War with the Soviet Bloc was evolving. The job of the news organizations were to find and report the news accurately to people all over the world who were in countries where the government controlled the media and there was no free press.

“Our mission today remains the same after all these years,” Ms. Wyson said. “We bring true and credible journalism to the people, wherever they live. The truth, other than the government propaganda. Truth and information are luxuries in many parts of the world.”

Her organization’s broadcasts are currently being jammed by the government in Iran, but local citizens are so hungry for news that they have discovered ways to get around the government’s prohibition of the Radio Liberty news broadcasts, she said.

“Our journalists are regularly arrested and detained,” she said. In fact, Ms. Wyson said she had just learned that one of their reporters was held by the government and questioned for two days in the Middle East. “Governments persecute journalists for seeking and reporting the truth,” she said.

“We are very proud to be recognized for doing our little part in the world of reporting the real news. It’s a true honor,” said Mrs. Wilkison. “We want our student interns to take a moment to realize the importance of a free press, how blessed they are to live in this country, but to also know they will likely be targeted in some way for accurately and honestly reporting the news.”

“I’m very glad our two organizations can work together to promote the work of free journalism,” said Ms. Wyson. “The Soviet Union may no longer exist, but from Texas to Tehran, the need for credible news with an impact will never die.”

Learn more at http://www.rferl.org/