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In his long career as a radio journalist, Mircea Carp has worked for both Radio Free Europe and The Voice of America.
We dedicate this edition of the History Show to radio journalist Mircea Carp, who used to work for the Romanian service of Radio Free Europe and contributed to the huge prestige enjoyed by that station. Carp turned 100 on 28th January 2023, having lived through one of the most problematic centuries in the history of mankind, including Romania: the century of two world wars, fascism and communism. After fighting on the front in the second world war, where he was wounded and decorated, Mircea Carp emigrated to the West when the war was over. He was one of the most recognizable voices on the radio and worked with the most important free media institutions in the Romanian language after 1945, namely The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Together with his colleagues, he stood by the Romanian people in all the difficult moments they went through, both before 1989 and after. Those who were around at the time will never forget the opening Radio Free Europe's broadcast, which played George Enescu's First Romanian Rhapsody and Mircea Carp's announcement "This is Radio Free Europe", which was repeated four times.
In 1997, the Oral History Centre of the Romanian Radio Broadcasting Corporation recorded Mircea Carp's experience working for The Voice of America. He was asked if the station knew about the tragedy of political prisoners in Romania and how it covered this issue for the Romanian public:
"We covered the subject, but we had to be careful with the information we would broadcast. In fact, the news broadcast by The Voice of America, then and today, had to be verified by at least two sources in order to be confirmed. You can imagine that we got all sorts of information from Romania and had to consider if it was true. We were very aware of the horrors taking place in the Romanian prisons, at the Canal and in other places, but we had to be careful when we named names, dates and places, because things might have been exaggerated, or some people couldn't remember exactly when the events occurred or when exactly they met a certain person. So, in this respect we were very, very careful not to make mistakes. Of course, after we got the confirmation we needed, we would broadcast the information, including interviews. In most cases, the persons we interviewed wanted to remain anonymous, and rightly so, because they still had families back in Romania and didn't want to make their situation unpleasant."
Carp began working for Radio Free Europe in 1951 before moving to The Voice of America where he became known to Romanian-language listeners for the quality of his programmes. In 1978, he returned to Radio Free Europe, where he infused more energy into the station's Romanian language broadcasts and where his foreign policy show called The Political Programme was very popular with the public. Mircea Carp explains:
"Before I joined Radio Free Europe, their broadcasts were a bit flat. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I brought some American energy to these broadcasts - shorter reports and interviews with people from all corners of the world, including well-known Romanians living in exile, in the free world. But apart from my own contribution, the station itself, perhaps sensing that the collapse of the Iron Curtain was near, intensified its campaign. The Romanian language department increased its focus on programmes that scrutinised the situation in Romania and revealed everything that was intolerable about this situation. I'm speaking of the things that were not visible on the surface, but which many people knew about, although not all in any case. The fact that a foreign radio station shed light on the real political, economic, cultural and military situation in Romania was much appreciated by our listeners, who were themselves unable to speak openly, to say what they were thinking or what they had heard and who found their feelings echoed in the programmes of Radio Free Europe."
The Romanian radio journalist Mircea Carp turned 100. He is an integral part of the history of free audiovisual media in Romania, alongside the likes of Noel Bernard, Monica Lovinescu, Virgil Ierunca, Vlad Georgescu and Neculai Constantin Munteanu.
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