BBG Watch EXCLUSIVE
Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) Executive Director Ann Noonan addressed the 2016 Tiananmen Square Memorial Rally held in New York City on Friday, June 3. In her speech, Noonan appealed to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in Washington, DC to maintain Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasting to China and Tibet.
Ann Noonan said, “I stand here today to share a call for action to let the Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington, DC know that funding for shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasts into China and Tibet, from the United States should be maintained, not reduced, and certainly not eliminated.”
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting is a nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization working to strengthen free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries with restricted and developing media environments.
Ann Noonan pointed out in her Tiananmen Square anniversary speech in New York that because some of the members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to oversee VOA, RFA, and other U.S.-funded media outlets, may be doing business in China on behalf of private U.S. corporations for which they work, strict monitoring of the BBG is necessary to make sure there are no conflicts of interest within the federal agency.
ANN NOONAN: “We need to be very clear that there are no conflicts of interest within the Broadcasting Board of Governors that would result in anyone there favoring China’s oppressive government rather than broadcasting Congressionally-mandated services to people inside China and Tibet, both rich and poor, who need to know that we have not forgotten about them and that their voices are heard here in the United States.”
Full text of Ann Noonan’s 2016 Tiananmen Square Memorial Rally speech in New York City:
My name is Ann Noonan and I am the Executive Director of the Committee for US International Broadcasting, and a Director for the Laogai Research Foundation.
I stand here today to first ask for a moment of silence in Memory of Harry Wu, who died on April 26, and who will not be forgotten. (Pause) Thank you. You are all invited to come to Washington D.C. to see the Laogai Museum.
I stand here today as an American woman who remembers the cries from Tiananmen, to not forget the day that China’s tanks rolled in on the students in Tiananmen Square. The students, who gathered peacefully to ask their country to grant them basic human rights. These are the same rights we possess here in the United States, and the same rights that people throughout the world possess under the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
I stand here today as a mother, to let the Mothers of Tiananmen know that here in New York, and throughout the United States, they have not been forgotten. We support their plea for justice for their children who lost their lives in Tiananmen Square. We support the Mothers of Tiananmen’s demand for China’s government to acknowledge and apologize for their government’s atrocities.
I stand here today to let the people in China’s laogai system, and who languish in China’s jails, know that they have not been forgotten.
I stand here today as a Catholic, to let the Underground Catholic Church in China know that they have not been forgotten
I stand here today to share a call for action to let the Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington, DC know that funding for shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasts into China and Tibet, from the United States should be maintained, not reduced, and certainly not eliminated.
We need to be very clear that there are no conflicts of interest within the Broadcasting Board of Governors that would result in anyone there favoring China’s oppressive government rather than broadcasting Congressionally-mandated services to people inside China and Tibet, both rich and poor, who need to know that we have not forgotten about them and that their voices are heard here in the United States.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent to things that matter.”
VOA Chinese Service posted a compilation video from the 2016 New York Tiananmen Square memorial rally.
However, our online search has shown that VOA Central English newsroom apparently did not post any reports about the 2016 Tiananmen Square memorial rally in New York on VOA’s main voanews.com English-language news website. Our search results show that VOA newsroom had posted several news reports in English about Tiananmen anniversary observances in Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, but not about any actual observances of the anniversary anywhere in the United States. VOA Charter, which is U.S. law, includes a requirement for the Voice of America to report U.S. news.
There was, however, some good news in our online search results of the voanews.com website. In contrast to numerous VOA news reporting failures in recent years when it comes to official U.S. government statements, VOA (English) newsroom, now operating under new VOA director Amanda Bennett, did report on the U.S. State Department 27th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square press statement issued on Friday, June 3. Deputy Department spokesperson Mark C. Toner said in a written statement released to the press in Washington that “The United States government continues to call for a full public accounting of those killed, detained, or missing and for an end to censorship of discussions about the events of June 4, 1989, as well as an end to harassment and detention of those who wish to peacefully commemorate the anniversary.” This statement was reported by VOA (English) News.
VOA (English) News also reported on June 4 about a group of Chinese college students studying overseas distributing an open letter calling for Communist Party leaders to be held accountable for the atrocities committed 26 years ago. VOA News reported that the letter was written by University of Georgia graduate student Gu Yi and co-signed by 10 other students. The same VOA report had information about an op-ed in The New York Times, in which Bao Tong, a longtime adviser to former Prime Minister Zhao Ziyang, criticized the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper wrote an editorial slamming the letter.