BBG – USAGM Watch Commentary
The Washington Free Beacon reported that two more VOA Mandarin 5 award-winning veteran journalists were fired by the senior management of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and the Voice of America (VOA) over the Guo Wengui interview incident. The article was written by Bill Gertz who is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon.
Both fired VOA journalists are men in their 60s who are political refugees from communist-ruled China. Each has worked for the Voice of America Mandarin Service for close to 30 years trying to bring uncensored news to the Chinese who are deprived of press freedom. Both have received multiple VOA, USIA, and BBG awards for their reporting and dedication. USIA and BBG were the former names of VOA’s parent federal agency. Both of the fired journalists are U.S. Federal employees. The management also fired earlier the VOA Mandarin Service chief.
Neither of the two recently fired journalists had any known disagreements with any previous VOA or agency directors.
VOA Mandarin Service broadcasters deny charges of disobeying orders and insist that they were only trying to prevent VOA’s senior management from making a mistake in cutting short the 2017 interview with the Chinese whistleblower.
USAGM CEO John F. Lansing and VOA Director Amanda Bennett have shown the two veteran VOA Mandarin journalists no mercy. The firing letter was signed by the agency’s chief accountant who is not known to have experience in journalism.
Bennett, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and whose husband is reported to have substantial business interests in China, claims that by ordering the shortening of the Guo Wengui interview she was only trying to uphold the highest journalistic standards at the Voice of America and was not caving in to pressure from the Chinese government.
Both Lansing and Bennett also insist that they strongly support free press. Several days before the two VOA Mandarin Service journalists were informed that they were fired, Lansing and Bennett participated in World Press Freedom Day observances.