FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 1999
Release No. 014-99

CONTACT: Lois Herrmann / Kelly Lees
PHONE: (202) 619-4355
E-MAIL: lhermann OR klees@usia.gov



United States Information Agency - News Release

 USIA COMBATS NEWS BLACKOUT IN THE BALKANS:

Agency Gets News and Information To The Region

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Information Agency (USIA), through its radio, television, and Internet transmissions, is providing news and information about the Kosovo crisis to citizens in the region and around the world.

The Agency's international web page on Kosovo offers the latest information and statements from NATO leaders as well as background, international commentary, translations in seven key languages, including Serbian and Albanian, and links to relevant government and media web sites. The web page features special audio and video streaming of key statements, including today's live remarks by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Serbian and President Clinton's March 25 address to the Serbian people. The site also contains a special "sound bite file" for the specific use of independent media in the region. The "sound bite file" is the first of its kind on the Internet, allowing Yugoslavia's beleaguered, independent media almost instantaneous access to key statements by NATO and U.S. officials that can be used for rebroadcast to local Serbian and Albanian audiences.

In addition, USIA's Bureau of Information has been providing Internet users with daily policy updates from senior U.S. foreign policy officials and selected statements from NATO members and other international figures via e-mail since Oct. 1998.

The Voice of America, USIA's worldwide radio network, has increased its daily Albanian and Serbian language shortwave and medium wave broadcasts to the area, offering objective reporting on developments. News of the crisis also dominates VOA broadcasts in Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Slovene, and in about 50 languages to the rest of the world.

On March 25 and 26, the Agency's WORLDNET Television Service broadcast via satellite President Clinton's speech to the Serbian people, in English, Serbian, and Russian. In addition, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Assistant Secretary Marc Grossman, and other key U.S. officials are conducting WORLDNET interviews about the crisis with major reporters around the world, which are then broadcast on local television.

USIA's Washington File, a print and electronic news service that reaches U.S. embassies and media news rooms around the world, is also carrying news, speeches, and interviews about Kosovo in Russian, Arabic, and French, as well as English. USIA officers in capitals throughout the world provide this material to local media and key government leaders and opinion makers.

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The United States Information Agency, headed by Acting Director Penn Kemble, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

USIA's programs include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Mart­, the WORLDNET satellite television system, the daily Washington File newswire, the Fulbright scholarship program, the International Visitor Program, the Speakers and Specialists Program, three Foreign Press Centers in the United States, and a network of overseas resource and cultural centers. The Agency has 190 posts in 141 countries.

The USIA domestic server can be accessed through http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/usia/ or through most search engines on the Internet.

United States Information Agency, 301 4th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20547
Tel: (202) 619-4355, Fax: (202) 619-6988
www.usia.gov

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