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The "Free Europe, Here" Campaign

The "Free Europe, Here" Campaign


The public fund-raising campaign is over, but the "Free Europe - Here" project goes on.
IRIR will continue its efforts to implement the project by various means.

The campaign events and the interim balance sheet - here

Free Europe, Here is a campaign meant to generate support and raise funding for a “Free Europe Center of Research and Documentation” to be established in Bucharest. The campaign project was initiated by the “Romanian Institute for Recent History” (IRIR) in cooperation with the former members of the RFE (Romanian Desk) team.

The U.S. financed Radio Free Europe has been Romania’s most important media phenomenon until 1989, and has played a decisive role in the recent history of this country. The premises for abolishing the totalitarian rule and embarking on the road to freedom and democracy in Romania are – to a great extent – the result of RFE’s broadcasts to this country. Launched in 1951, the broadcasting to Romania culminated in 1989 and was discontinued in August 2008.

The history of Romania in the second half of the last century and the tribulations of the Romanian society under the communist rule cannot be studied and understood without Radio Free Europe. RFE’s broadcasting archives (program scripts and tapes) are at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, California, thousands of miles away. Because of this, the archives are in fact out of reach for the people in Romania. The purpose of an “Free Europe Center of Research and Documentation” would be to acquire and house a complete copy of the Hoover archives, and to make it freely available to the public here, in Romania, so that the accessible Romanian media content of 40 years roughly (1951-1990) would not consist only of the domestic communist propaganda material. Reminding the Romanians of RFE’s outstanding significance and contribution to the freedom and prosperity they have gained, the campaign’s main goal will be to raise the funding needed for acquiring and processing (digitizing) an archive copy, and housing it at a dedicated center in Bucharest, permanently open for all those interested in studying these unique documents – students, scholars, journalists, historians, researchers and the man in the street. Within the future Center we also plan to initiate a radio school meant to carry on RFE’s professional standards and democratic tradition.

RFE’s broadcasts have been the major source of uncensored information, pertinent analysis, freely expressed opinion and, last but not least, of hope for the Romanian people throughout the Cold War. They have been described as the oxygen that allowed Romanians to breath and resist under communism. RFE has saved lives and influenced destinies. It was the greatest nightmare of Ceaușescu and his Securitate. Because of this, RFE’s Romanian Desk had its injuries and losses. In 2001, the Romanian State realized it would be appropriate to pay tribute to the importance and contribution of Radio Free Europe. President Ion Iliescu handed medals and diplomas to the RFE staff “as a sign of the Romanian people’s lasting gratitude and appreciation” (President Iliescu’s speech on Nov. 30, 2001).

The initiators of this campaign asked for support from a number of outstanding personalities known for their admiration for and indebtedness to RFE. The list of personalities comprises top names such as Andrei Pleșu, Dorin Tudoran, Doina Cornea, Vasile Paraschiv, Petre Mihai Băcanu, Radu Filipescu, Ion Vianu, Nicolae Manolescu, László Tőkés, Gabriel Andreescu, Mircea Dinescu, Stelian Tănase, Liviu Antonesei, Teodor Baconsky, Silviu Purcărete, Tudor Giurgiu, Victor Rebengiuc, Oana Pellea, Andrei Șerban, Ion Caramitru, Neagu Djuvara, Johnny Răducanu, Harry Tavitian, Dennis Deletant, Zoe Petre, Alexandru Barnea, Dan Voinea, Sever Voinescu, Dumitru Țepeneag, Tudor Octavian, Ioan Groșan, Doru Bușcu, Liviu Mihaiu, Mircea Toma, Cristian Țopescu, Cătălin Ștefănescu, Andrei Manolescu, Mircea Vasilescu, Gabriel Dimisianu, Adrian Cioroianu, Cristian Tabără, Cătălin Ștefănescu, Cristina Țopescu, Gabriel Basarabescu, Lucian Mîndruță, Robert Turcescu, Mihai Dobrovolschi, Vlad Craioveanu, Melania Medeleanu, Irina Margareta Nistor, Răzvan Mazilu, Alexandru Arșinel, Nicu Covaci (Phoenix), Constantin Chiriac, Magdalena Popa Buluc, Ovidiu Buluc, the Academia Civica Foundation, the Dinu Patriciu Foundation, the Sighet Memorial, the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham), the Group for Social Dialog (GDS), the Ministry of Culture. The list will be updated continuously.
H.M. King Michael expressed his support for the campaign. Former Presidents Emil Constantinescu and Ion Iliescu are also supporting the initiative.