Prague, June 30 (CTK) – Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka will decorate Kevin Klose, former president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and journalist Pavel Pechacek from this radio station, with Karel Kramar medals for their work in support of democracy and freedom, Sobotka announced Tuesday.
He appreciated their work at a meeting marking the 20th anniversary of the relocation of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) from Munich to Prague.
Sobotka reminded of Pechacek’s words: “Truth is the best propaganda” as well as his life story in exile in the United States and Germany.
Pechacek left the communist Czechoslovakia in 1968 after the Soviet-led invasion. He first worked for Radio Free Europe and from 1975, he managed the Czechoslovak section of the Voice of America in Washington. From 1989 he headed the Czech broadcasting of RFE/RL and he participated in its transformation into Czech Radio 6 station.
At present, Pechacek lives in Washington.
Kevin Klose was, along with the late Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel, behind the idea of relocating the RFE/RL from Munich to Prague in 1995. He headed the radio in 1994-1997 and in 2013-2014.
Klose, former editor and reporter at The Washington Post, was director of the U.S. National Public Radio for ten years. He is a university lecturer now.
The medal, awarded by the prime minister, is named after the first Czechoslovak PM Karel Kramar. It is bestowed on those who contributed to the renewal of democracy and human rights and freedoms. The medal was created on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the formation of the first Czechoslovak government in 1918.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said at the ceremony in the National Museum that Radio Free Europe had always been a significant alternative source of information. In his speech, he thanked the RFE/RL for its great help in the hard times of totalitarianism and for spreading democracy.
Sobotka also pointed out the symbolical meaning of the RFE/RL broadcasting from the former seat of the Federal Assembly (parliament) from which the radio moved to a new building in Prague’s Hagibor the 2009.
Tuesday’s ceremony was also attended by RFE/RL editor-in-chief Nenad Pejic, U.S. Ambassador to Prague Andrew Schapiro, Czech Ambassador to Britain Michael Zantovsky and National Museum director Michal Lukes.
RFE/RL, established in 1949 to push through democratic values behind the Iron Curtain, is a non-profit organisation financed by the U.S. government. At present, RFE/RL broadcasts in 28 languages to 21 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia and some former Soviet republics.