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Soviets to Continue Jamming 2 Stations : 'Good Will' Asserted in Clearing Voice of America Broadcasts

May 27, 1987|WILLIAM TUOHY | Times Staff Writer

MOSCOW — The Soviet government confirmed Tuesday that it has stopped jamming Voice of America broadcasts for what it called "an act of good will" but that it is continuing to interfere with the broadcasts of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yuri A. Gremitskikh told a news conference that the halt in the jamming of Voice of America broadcasts can be attributed to "the current policy of glasnost ," or openness.

At the same time, he sharply criticized new U.S. restrictions placed on Soviet correspondents covering the State Department in Washington.

Although it has not interfered with the Voice of America's English-language broadcasts, the Soviets have been jamming its broadcasts in Russian and other Soviet ethnic languages since 1980. Gremitskikh said the new policy of allowing the Voice to transmit into the Soviet Union without interruption is in the interest of "cooperation and understanding" between Washington and Moscow.

He said it is "very easy" to explain why the policy does not apply to Radio Liberty, which is financed by the U.S. government and which broadcasts programs to the Soviet Union in Russian and other languages. Their aim is to provide their listeners with information about their homeland that is censored by their own media.

Gremitskikh said that Radio Liberty, which beams its broadcasts to the Soviet Union, is an "ideological instrument" and is "aided and abetted" by the CIA.

"Their basic objective is to provide information that undermines internal security and stability of our countries . . . and also to undermine confidence of the Soviet people in the government and internal policies of our state," he said.

Radio Liberty Jammed

Radio Liberty's sister station, Radio Free Europe, which broadcasts to the East Bloc countries, will also continue to be jammed, Gremitskikh said.

Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty programs are generally regarded as more ideological than those of the Voice of America, which broadcasts worldwide and presents more straight news, analyses and features.

The sister stations, based in Munich, West Germany, were set up by the CIA, but after objections were raised in Congress, the CIA severed its ties with them. Both stations receive financial support from the U.S. government.

They are controlled by the Board of International Broadcasting, which says it is trying to fill an "information gap" brought on by censorship in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The board's members are appointed by the President but are free of U.S. government direction.

The Soviet government insists that the CIA still exercises control over the two stations, screening their employees and placing CIA officers in key positions.

Soviet officials contend that the tone of Radio Liberty programming was set by emigres who created a reactionary, ultranationalist approach more appropriate to the time of the Russian czars.

"They are leftovers from the Cold War," Gremitskikh said.

Gremitskikh said that under restrictions imposed recently in Washington, Soviet and East Bloc reporters covering the State Department must ask for permission in advance in order to attend daily briefings. Other foreign correspondents, he said, need only display their credentials to be admitted.

He said the restrictions are in violation of the Helsinki accords on freedom of access to information and that they constitute "an unfriendly act." Nevertheless, he said, the Soviet government will not take a "tit for tat" attitude.

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