Remarks of President Barack Obama
Video Message for Voice of America 70th Anniversary
Hello everybody. And to all of you at Voice of America, congratulations on 70 years of extraordinary service. From that very first broadcast during World War II—and ever since—the Voice of America has been the voice of freedom. Long before we even talked about the power of “public diplomacy,” you made it your mission to help America communicate with the world—to show the true character of our country, and the ideals and liberties for which we stand.
In the face of foreign governments that censor, you provide news that’s accurate and objective. In the face of regimes that deny universal rights, you stand for freedom and democracy. At times, your work comes with great risk, and today we remember those from the VOA family who have given their lives to this mission. Indeed, others may try to jam your signal or silence your voice, but there’s no stopping our message. Whether it’s been families trapped behind an Iron Curtain, or students trying to log on behind an electronic curtain, dissidents harassed by secret police, or young people marching for the dignity and opportunity they deserve, you are the voice that reminds them—you are not alone, and there is a place called America that stands with you.
Recently, the world lost one of these champions of democracy. And two decades ago, on his first trip to America as president, one of the first stops that Vaclav Havel made was to the headquarters of the Voice of America. He had inspired his countrymen, and the world, with his call for people to confront the lies of dictatorship by “living within the truth,” and he credited you—the Voice of America—for helping to sustain him, and so many others, with the truth you told every day.
Our nation is stronger, and our world is more just, because of your tireless efforts. So on behalf of the American people—and the millions around the world who draw hope and strength from your work—thank you all for being the proud and steady Voice of America.