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Soviets May Reconsider Policy on Jamming

January 24, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The Soviet Union, planning a cultural exchange with the United States, may reconsider its policy of jamming the Voice of America's Russian-language broadcasts, U.S. Information Agency Director Charles Z. Wick said Thursday.

At a news conference to discuss the results of his 10-day Soviet trip, Wick said he met with 19 Soviet officials to devise an exchange in such areas as art, medicine, film, sports and education, as mandated by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at the November, 1985, Geneva summit.

A plan for the trade--the first such effort in six years--is expected to be ready by the next summit, which, although not yet scheduled, could occur as early as June.

The discussions with Soviet officials were "friendly, although, on occasion, confrontational" as the two groups tried to "dissect reasons for distortions that promote misunderstanding," Wick said.

The jamming issue came up in a meeting with Leonid M. Zamyatin, head of the international information section of the Communist Party's Central Committee.

Zamyatin said he found the Voice of America's Russian-language broadcast the most offensive of all Western transmissions. Virtually all Western broadcasts are jammed in the Soviet Union.

"He said he listens to VOA, our special English broadcast, and if our Russian- and other Soviet-language broadcasts had the same content, they would not be disposed to jam VOA," Wick said.

He said Zamyatin told the U.S. group he believes the VOA Russian-language broadcasts are designed to "provide unrest" among the Soviet people. The U.S. representatives responded that jamming was illegal under many international agreements to which the Soviet Union is party.

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