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Bush Visits VOA - 2002-02-26

President Bush was the guest of honor at ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Voice of America. In remarks broadcast to the world, Mr. Bush promised VOA will always speak the truth as it delivers a message of freedom.

The president says the mission of the Voice is more important today than it was at the time of its founding. He said, "Sixty years ago, only 79 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first Voice of America broadcast crossed the Atlantic into Nazi Germany with these words, 'here speaks a voice from America, we shall tell you the truth.'"

Mr. Bush said from a world war to the Cold War, through times of crisis and calm, VOA has told the truth about America. He said over the years it has carried out a mission as a messenger of freedom. "And now in a new conflict," he said, "I am proud to say that the Voice of America still speaks strongly and clearly."

Standing before a VOA microphone and a room packed with current and former employees, President Bush said there are still nations that fear the truth. He said that is why they try to silence the Voice. President Bush said, "Under some regimes, like that in North Korea, simply listening to the Voice of America is treated as a crime. And the fears of these regimes are well founded, because tyranny cannot survive forever in an atmosphere of truth."

Mr. Bush closed his brief remarks by talking about the new technologies that VOA has embraced in recent years. A broadcast operation that once focused solely on short-wave radio now delivers information via FM and AM radio signals, television and the Internet. "Though these means of delivery may change," he continued, "the message never will. It is a simple message. It is a message of freedom."

In 1942, when VOA first went on the air, it delivered the news in a few languages to a war-weary European audience. Today, the Voice of America delivers its message in 53 languages to about 93 million people around the world each week.