A top U.S. Broadcasting official is expressing concern over the decision by a number of Russian radio stations to stop broadcasting Voice of America and U.S.-financed Radio Liberty programs.
The communications coordinator, Larry Hart, of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors that oversees such broadcasts told VOA that the cancellations are "a disturbing trend." He said this is "particularly unfortunate because of the loss of information flow to the Russian people."
He was responding to U.S. news media reports that Russian officials have forced numerous local radio stations to stop carrying the broadcasts.
Russian officials say they are simply enforcing broadcast licenses. But the move comes as Russia's media come under increasing control of officials with close ties to the government.
The U.S. official confirmed that only several stations now broadcast Radio Liberty programming, as compared to 30 in May of last year. He also said that only five affiliates carry VOA shows, down from 42 affiliates one year ago.