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Albanian President Cites VOA for "Inspiring and Encouraging the Democratic Process"


Tirana, Albania, Sept. 17, 2004 - Head of State Alfred Moisiu has awarded his country's Presidential Medal for "special civilian merit" to the Voice of America's Albanian Service in an award ceremony in the capital today.

VOA "was and continues to be a joint traveler of our history of the last six decades by being the voice of hope and freedom to Albanians," President Moisiu said as he presented the medal to International Broadcasting Bureau Director Seth Cropsey. Calling VOA broadcasts an "irreplaceable source of information," the president recalled the period of democratic transition in the early 1990s as "especially unforgettable...when people followed the Voice of America as if it was water in the desert." President Moisiu also said that VOA continues to enjoy the attention of a large audience thanks to its objective news and airing of independent and balanced views.

Director Cropsey accepted the award on behalf of VOA's Albanian Service, thanking Albania for its continued support of VOA, its allegiance to the United States, and its assistance in the war on terrorism.

During his trip to the region, Director Cropsey also met in Belgrade with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Draskovic and in Kosovo with Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Artemije, Prime Minister Bajram Rexepi and President Ibrahim Rugova. He also spoke on U.S. international broadcasting to local journalists, political leaders, and Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty affiliate stations in the region.

The International Broadcasting Bureau provides administrative and engineering support for the Voice of America, Radio Sawa, and Radio and Television Marti, as well as engineering support for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Radio Farda.

VOA Albanian's popular TV news program Ditari is broadcast daily to audiences throughout the Balkans. VOA also transmits 8 hours a week of news in Albanian via shortwave. Programs are available on the Internet at www.VOAnews.com/Albanian.

VOA went on the air in 1942 and today broadcasts more than 1,000 hours a week of news, information, educational, and cultural programming to a worldwide audience of 94 million people. Programs are produced in Albanian and 43 other languages. VOA is funded by the U.S. government.

For more information, call the Office of Public Affairs at (202) 401-7000, or E-mail publicaffairs@voa.gov.

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