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November 01, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-11-01

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, November 1, 1983

The Michigan Doiy

hanges threaten Radio

Free I

By Stephen Mills
Five days after the Korean jetliner tragedy,
the official and widely read Soviet Communist
Party daily Pravda made the first mention of
Western charges that the Soviets shot down the
plane, and most diplomats agreed that this was
to counter foreign radio reports on the dispute.
This was not the first time that the Soviet and
East European media have had to alter their
planned content to respond to Western broad-
casts beamed into these areas through shor-
twave. This has been a constant accomplish-
ment of Western stations such as the American
sponsored Voice of America, Radio Free
Europe, Radio Liberty, the British Broad-
casting Corporation (BBC), and the West Ger-
man Deutsche Welle since their inception.
Some say that the attractiveness of Western
radio is simply that it broadcasts the truth, or
least some concoction which approaches it far
closer than its Eastern counterparts.
THAT JOB is harder than it sounds. Witness
Radio Free Europe and its sister station Radio
Liberty, based in Munich, West Germany. In
contrast to Voice of America, whose mission it
is to present the U.S. government position on
world issues which the U.S. feels the world
should know about, Radio Free Europe and
Radio Liberty (RFE-RL) maintain a unique
but obscure type of independence from the ad-
ministration and broadcast news which
specifically addresses issues in the respective
countries. Thus, when a Czech listens to the
Czech Service of RFE-RL, he receives infor-
nation on events in Czechoslovakia and of con-
tern to Czechs.
This has been RFE-RL's success
story-telling people what is going on in their
own countries and the world around them, and
doing so with an admired objective journalistic
$tyle. The stations had recovered quickly from
the exposure of their CIA ties in 1972 which they
subsequently broke, and staff morale rose to an

all time high when part of the building in
Munich blew up by a saboteur's bomb in 1981.
But since last year, when Congress enacted a
bill which abolished the independent board
which oversaw RFE-RL, Inc.,and replaced it
with the President's Board for International
Broadcasting (BIB), many feared that the
stations would be forced to become mouth-
pieces of the Reagan administration.
WHEN THE president's board replaced the
RFE-RL leadership within a year with conser-
vative and hard-line anti-Communists, rumors
started to circulate that the radio's credibility
would be undermined and that the Reagan ap-
pointees would accomplish what the "jam-
mers" in the Eastern Block had been trying to
do for years: reduce listenership.
But months passed with no major policy
changes-only rumors among the staff that the
stations were to become more propagandistic.
In June of this year, the last top man of the
former administration resigned-supposedly
after months of in-house fighting with the new
management. "There is no longer a place for
me here the way things are going," said RFE
Director James Brown, a respected expert on
East European affairs, told journalists.'
The London Times responded to his
resignation with regret and a warning. "If the
more extreme voices in Washington get their
way, it will be bad for the radio and bad for the
West. . . They beleive that the basic job of RFE
is to attack communism and support American
policies. The result is that they will lose
audiences by destroying the fragile credibility
which the radio has built up."
THE MOST SERIOUS threat to RFE-RL's in-
dependence may not be the new conservative
American leadership of the two stations. A not
insignificant number of East European and
Russian immigrants working at the station,
some of whom collaborated with the Nazis
during World War II and afterwards were of-
fered jobs by the U.S. government to work at
RFE-RL, would like to see the

It 9~*fl* ~ 1P

Europe
Despite RFE-RL's problems, proof of their
continued success is witnessed by the East's
constant jamming of the broadcasts and ate
tacks in the government-sponsored press
against the stations. The most recent action
was in Poland where a military court handed
down a death sentence in absentia against the
director of the Polish Service of RFE-RL, Zd-
zislaw Naider. for spving and espionage.
WHILE THE year-old administration adamantly'
denies that the stations are influenced by the
Reagan administration's strong anti-Com=
munist policies, those who doubt this assertion
may do best by scrutinizing all of the levels at
the stations-from the American management
to the Soviet and East European immigrant 4
editors and broadcasters. Threats to RFE-
RL's credibility could come from any side.
When Reagan spoke at the Voice of
America's fortieth anniversary ceremonies a
year ago, he recalled his own experiences as an
Iowa broadcaster decades ago. As a sports an-
nouncer, he was responsible for broadcasting
major league baseball games from
telegraphed reports-not eye-witness accoun-
ts.
"Now, if the game was rather dull," he ex-
plained, "you could say, 'It's a hard-hit ball
down towards second base. The shortstop is
going over after the ball and makes a wild stab,
picks it up, turns and gets him out just in time. "
Reagan felt that he had simply "attractively
packaged" the event.
If members of the BIB or, more importantly,
the editors at RFE-RL take on this attitude and
attempt to package the news in whatever
fashion they deem attractive, they may defeat
their cause. East European and Soviet
listeners to Western radio get enough of that
from their own media.
Mills worked for Radio Free Europe in
Munich from July, 1982 through August,:
1983. He is a doctoral student in the Depar-
tment of Communication.

stations promote uprisings, revolu-
tions, and resistance to the governments
in the East.
Currently, the RFE-RL policy guidelines
restrain broadcasters from encouraging defec-
tions, inciting listeners to violent action, using
material based on rumor or hearsay-to name
a few.
"These are rules fit for a nunnery," com-
mented one programmer who wished to remain
anonymous.
Recent restructuring by George Bailey, the
new head of Radio Liberty, may make it
possible for such voices to get on the
air-without anyone in management knowing
about it. Bailey decided to abolish the
American practice of editing the copy of
material produced by the various non-Russian
language services such as Ukranian and
Georgian. Editors in these sections, who are
among the most virulent anti-Communists in
the radio, now have total authority over their

own broadcasting material. The stations
themselves, filled with immigrants from all
over Eastern Europe and the Soviety Union,
are a microcosm of a wide spectrum of first
and second world culture and political thought,
and the weakening of a checks and balances
system will serve only to leave extreme voices
in the stations unguarded.
THE STATIONS have already experienced a
couple Waterloos when bloopers slipped on to
the air because of a lack of checking.
Back in 1981, an investigation by the BIB
found that several Radio Liberty broadcasts
had been "anti-democratic, anti-Western, anti-
Catholic" and, in some cases, echoed the
Soviet line on territorial issues. One program
contained the statement that the 1939 Soviet in-
vasion of Poland "extended Russia's borders to
their; natural limits." Another spoke of
"fanatical Catholics" and critized Pope
John Paul II for his support of the clergy in the
Ukraine.

,.,

Stewart

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

MMMMWT771171 \T

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MI

"On4k,

Vol. XCIV-No. 48

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M 48109

I WENT OUT
LAST NIGHT~ AS
A QS, MARINE IN
LEBANOH AND ALL
I GO0T WAS PENNIE$AS

REALLY? I WENT OUT
AS AN AMERIAN RANGER
IN GRENADA AND I GOT
GREAT STUFFP~

4

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Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

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Faculty priorities skewed
HE UNIVERSITY'S faculty is over- dollars from academic and service
stating its case in a push to make programs and given it to the faculty.
ofessors' salaries the University's Faculty salaries have been the highest
cond highest budget priority. priority in the University's five-year
The faculty's top salary committee, budget reallocation plan.
med with reports showing a 7 per- The University has done nothing of
nt discrepency between their the sort for students. The biggest break
laries and those of professors at students have received was this year's
her universities, recently told the 9.5 percent tuition increase, which is
iversity regents that they should be well above the inflation rate. And if the
ar the top of the budget priority list. state had not boosted aid payments
eir aim is to be second in line for this year, students would not even have
iiversity money, just behind essen- received that farcical reprieve.
l costs like heat and lighting. Ignored by the University, this
While competitive faculty salaries problem has started to drain the
e essential for retaining the Univer- University's student diversity. The ef-
y's quality, skyrocketing tuition bills fects are not yet startling, but are
w pose a more serious threat to the definitely visable: Students at the
iiversity. University have become slightly
Although faculty salaries have wealthier, and slightly more suburban
gged behind those of other in- over the last few years.
tutions, they have at least kept up There is little evidence that
t inflation. The facultyeas a whole professors are starting to leave the
s not lost buying power in the last University for higher paying jobs. In
w years. But the same cannot be said fact, Billy Frye, the vice president for
students who have seen tuition top academic affairs and provost, recently
e inflation rate by leaps and bounds. said the University was very suc-
ith inflation hovering at about 5 per- cessful last year in recruiting
nt a year, tuition has jumped 82 per- professors from other schools.
nt since 1980. Faculty salaries should be a high
The University has almost com- priority, but they have to be balanced
etey ignored tuition problems, while against the cost of draining students to
ving faculty consistant pay raises pay them. That cost is the damaging
rough special University efforts. diversity of the student community.

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4

'LETTERS TO THE DAILY-

Nuclear war and Ann Arbor bars

In 'oth of the last two years the
riversity has cut several million

And that diversity is
part of University
faculty is.

just as
quality

much a
as the

To the Daily:
Many may have noticed, while
walking past the corner of South
University and Church, the
scaled-down version of an F-111
fighter jet sitting in front of
Charley's/The Count of An-
tipasto. One hopes it has nuclear
capability.
This sight will certainly draw
howls of, outrage from knee-jerk
liberals, who will undoubtedly
and naively insist that a build-up
of nuclear weapons is a spiralling
game where the only loser can be
humankind. We, on the other
hand, recognize and applaud this
show of force for the brilliant
strategic move that it is. Who
would have guessed that the beer
and drink prices charged by
these bars, roundly criticized as
only rapacious capitalist greed,
have in fact merely reflected the
true costs of maintaining a com-
petitive edge in the volatile bar
market of Ann Arbor? Little did

acting like children about it. Af-
ter all, prices have been unifor-
mly high in Ann Arbor for years,
in retail stores as well as bars; it
would be fatuous to think that
arms have not been stockpiled all
over town-from Border's to
Village Corner to the Blind Pig.
The technology will not-disappear
and it's a hard reality that every
merchant. in this city, no matter
how peace-loving, will have to be
BLOOM COUNTY

prepared to defend against less
scrupulous entrepreneurs ready
to take advantage of any chink in
a competitor's nuclear armor.
Which is why we have to join with
Charley's in rejecting *as
premature the cries for a so-
called "mutually verifiable"
nuclear freeze in Ann Arbor.
How could we trust any shop or
bar that refuses to follow the
open-handed gesture of

Charley's, that refuses, in other
words, to slap its firepower out on
the sidewalk for everyone to see?
We realize these are tough
positions to take.ABut these are
tough times and Ann Arbor, ob-
viously, is now a very tough town.
-Jim Lammers
Bob Southard
October 25
by Berke Breathed

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