BBG Watch Media
A recent article in Radio World, “Post-Fidel, the Broadcast Hostility Remains,” focuses on the growing displeasure of the Cuban communist regime with Radio and TV Marti broadcasts to Cuba. The article also includes an appeal to the Trump administration from the independent Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB.org) to increase funding for U.S. media outreach to the Cuban people.
Radio and TV Marti are managed by the federal Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) within the federal Broadcasting Board of Governor (BBG) agency.
While the agency itself and some of the elements, including the Voice of America (VOA), are highly dysfunctional and may be posed for management changes by the Trump administration under the new bipartisan reform legislation signed by President Obama last December before he left office, Radio and TV Marti seem to be doing well under its new director Malule González. She is well known and highly respected among journalists for her strong commitment to human rights journalism and its defense during the Obama administration’s rapprochement with the Cuban regime.
As it is also the case with some of the other of BBG actual broadcasting entities, OCB lacks, however, sufficient funding due to the phenomenal growth of the central BBG federal bureaucracy and its siphoning of resources in waste and mismanagement of recent years.
Radio World quotes González:
“For a period of time, the Cuban government was ‘overlooking’ the distribution of flash drives and DVDs containing our content in Cuba by Cuban citizens,…” “But, recently, they have been cracking down on distributors of ‘el paquetes,’ as these devices are called by Cubans. If anything, the repression has worsened in the past two years, not improved.”
Radio World also interviewed Ann Noonan, executive director of the independent NGO Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB.org), which has been critical of the BBG management while working to provide support for BBG journalists and their mission.
Radio World quotes Noonan:
“…although Cuba is becoming a tourist destination for many Americans again, “Little or no help has been offered to most of Cuba’s people, who are still desperately poor. Access to communication is limited for families in Cuba.” She said that because all media inside Cuba are still controlled by the state, “shortwave and medium-wave radio broadcasts from the United States remain crucial for access to news inside Cuba. Radio and TV Martí need more support and funding for their work.”
Even if President Trump reinstates an embargo on Cuba, she said, “It seems unlikely that it would make any difference in the lives of many Cubans. Right now, for the most part, the only ones who are benefiting from the end of the travel restrictions are elitists inside Cuba and Americans who romanticize about life there and want to go there to see old cars, import cigars and enjoy the beach.”
CUSIB hopes that the Trump administration will push for greater funding for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Ann Noonan told Radio World.
READ MORE: “Post-Fidel, the Broadcast Hostility Remains, By James Careless, Radio World, February 1, 2017.
Featured image: Ann Noonan with Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng (October 2013)