The jubilee anniversary of Radio Free Europe. May 4, 2001.
Dec 02, 2004
“In the past I used to be a faithful listener to Radio Free Europe, which served as a source of truthful, undistorted information. I have remained one of your listeners to this day.”
Mr President, Mr Dine, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me pleasure to greet you on this jubilee anniversary of Radio Free Europe. I am glad that we are marking this occasion at a time when the radio station is vigorous, strong, and acting in the service of promoting democracy and the vital reconstruction of a society which is frequently weighed down by a heavy load: a power perpetuating the legacy of the communist past in the minds of a number of people. There is an ever present need to challenge this.
You yourselves have looked back on history -- just recently we had a chance to listen to the top feature, "Events and Opinions" by Olga Kopecka-Valeska. I would just like to contribute a small retrospective to those days and admit that in the past I used to be a faithful listener to Radio Free Europe, which served as a source of truthful, undistorted information. I have remained one of your listeners to this day.
Ten years ago, in the thanksgiving service in Munich on the 40th anniversary of RFE, I described in my sermon what RFE meant to us.
Those more adept are here to give a more profound appreciation of your wonderful, useful, and high-quality endeavor. They will certainly evaluate the professional contribution of RFE to our current media. I would like to express my personal recognition, admiration, and gratitude to your journalists for their work.
It may appear that the original mission of RFE -- to disseminate truthful information -- is no longer topical today. I do not share this opinion. May it suffice to look around -- near and far -- and we will frequently come across certain attempts to politicize the spreading of truthful information. These efforts are not entirely dissimilar to the strivings at the beginning of the Cold War, when the totalitarian regime used the media for its ideology and tried to bridle truth to serve its purposes. That is why I am convinced that RFE's mission remains ever topical today for our society and nations.
In the past, your service was also of vital importance for the Church, completely deprived of free communication and a free media. You played an extremely significant role, especially in the course of the Second Vatican Council. As a representative of the Catholic Church, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your important work and wish you well in your mission in our country for long years to come.