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SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 19 (SeeNews) - Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) plans to relaunch its news services in Bulgaria and Romania, starting from December 2018, aiming to strengthen the media landscape in both countries, the US-based media company said.
"We hope in particular that our coverage, carried out by local journalists, will help the growth of a free press, promote democratic values and institutions, and inform discussion in both countries of their place in NATO, the EU and other Western organizations," Thomas Ken, president of RFE/RL, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Government officials, civil society representatives and journalists in both countries have expressed concern that disinformation, corruption, and social division are undermining their political systems, RFE/RL noted in its statement.
The media company funded by a grant from the US Congress said it is offering its services in 20 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. It previously served countries across Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and Romania, before they joined the EU and NATO. RFE/RL ended its services in Bulgaria in 2004 and in Romania in 2008.
RFE/RL currently has bureaus in five countries of Southeast Europe - Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, as well as a Romanian-language service for Moldova, according to the statement.