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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Roundtable Discussion with Independent Media
Samarkand, Uzbekistan, April 17, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. I am very, very pleased to meet with all of you. I always, as I travel, particularly enjoy meeting with members of the independent media, and to really have a chance to learn about how you work and what it's like to operate within your society.

One of the most exciting moments on this trip, my first stop was in Ukraine, was to actually be on a call-in TV program and have the chance to interact with young people who were part of the audience, as well as those who wrote in with e-mail, and called in. I saw that as a sign of the evolution of civil society in Ukraine. The work that Internews does with support from USAID is particularly important here in Uzbekistan and throughout the region and essential in terms of promoting freedom of the press and a free flow of information.

A vigorous and diverse press is clearly the cornerstone of a democratic society. I know that the regional TV stations enjoy greater independence than your colleagues in the capital. That's why I am particularly interested in having a good and open discussion with you, and to learn more about what you're doing. Before I was Secretary of State, I was a professor. Actually, I was Ambassador to the UN, but before that I was a professor.

As a professor, and as a student, I studied how communist societies change. I was particularly interested in the role of the media. I wrote my dissertation on the role of the Czechoslovak press during the Prague Spring, and then the role of Solidarity press during the Polish Solidarity period. There are many aspects of what they did that I would be very interested to know whether you're doing. But we will talk about that in a minute.

[End of Document]
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