Ashe Wants RFE Chief to Resign

Victor Ashe is causing some more discomfort for his colleagues on the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the staff of the agency that operates Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Moscow.

Ashe, former mayor of Knoxville and U.S. Ambassador to Poland, at a committee meeting last week called on Steven Korn, president of Radio Free Europe, to resign because of his "callous" treatment of 41 staffers fired in the Moscow bureau and for what Ashe deemed the perception in Russia that Radio Liberty was no longer a friend of dissidents, viewing Radio Free Europe "not as a friend, but indeed as a foe."

The Putin government has been clamping down on the rebroadcast of the American broadcasts in Russia and ratings have declined by 12 million listeners last year.

Ashe had earlier opposed a proposal that would have shut down American-based transmitter broadcasting into China, arguing that the agency's broadcasters in Asian countries were being intimidated by the Chinese, and an American source of broadcasting was essential.