Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting — Special Bipartisan Website Page of House Foreign Affairs Committee

BBG Watch Commentary

Rep. Ed Royce

Rep. Ed Royce

Rep. Eliot Engel

Rep. Eliot Engel

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Republican Ed Royce of California, in close cooperation with Ranking Democratic Member Eliot Engel of New York, has created a special bipartisan website page, Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting, with information about H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act to improve the missions, objectives, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters. (Introduced on April 28, 2014 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)).

The House Foreign Affairs Committee page includes links to editorials and articles in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, and The Hill. Some fear that the bill puts too much emphasis on the public diplomacy component of Voice of America, but others have pointed out that it is not nearly as strong as it was when VOA was still part of the former United States Information Agency (USIA) and yet in later years managed to preserve its journalistic independence thanks to the VOA Charter passed by Congress in 1976. Defenders of the bill point out that the dysfunctional Voice of America and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) senior management represents a far greater threat to VOA’s journalistic independence by imposing on VOA journalists subjective private mandates that have nothing to do with the VOA Charter.

The Hill article has comments in support of the reform bill by Ted Lipien, former Voice of America acting associate director in charge of central news and co-founder of the NGO Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org). Lipien who directs another media freedom organization, Free Media Online, which supports the publication of BBG Watch, expressed his strong backing of the legislation in a Digital Journal op-ed as absolutely necessary to eliminate mismanagement, which he described as the greatest threat to U.S. international media outreach and journalistic independence of the Voice of America. He also wrote that some modifications to the bill to further strengthen the VOA Charter and to prevent outside interference with VOA news, either from U.S. government or foreign governments, might further improve the legislation.

BBG Watch has reproduced the House Foreign Affairs Committee special web page. The original House Foreign Affairs Committee web page, which should be checked regularly for any updates, can be seen HERE, or by clicking on  the Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting title below.

House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting

Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to be able to tell a message around the world.” – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, January 23, 2013, Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (Watch the video here.)

“I, along with some of my board colleagues, have consistently advocated for necessary and far-reaching reform of the governance structure and organization of U. S. international broadcasting (USIB). My belief in the importance and need for these reforms has only grown stronger the longer I have served.” – Dennis Mulhaupt, April 9, 2013, Resignation letter from the BBG Board

 


Royce/Engel U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Legislation

H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act to improve the missions, objectives, and effectiveness of U.S. international broadcasters. (Introduced on April 28, 2014 by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY)).

Full text of H.R. 4490, as introduced

Full Committee Markup

Section-by-section summary of H.R. 4490, as introduced

More from Congress.gov>>


News Releases on Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting

Chairman Royce Announces Hearing on Reforming Broadcasting Board of Governors (June 21, 2013)

Foreign Affairs Committee to Convene 10 a.m. Hearing on Reforming Broadcasting Board of Governors — Chairman Royce Opening Statement (June 26, 2013)

Dear Colleague: Support BBG Reform (April 28, 2014)

Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel Introduce U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Legislation (April 29, 2014) 

Committee to Consider U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Legislation Today — Chairman Royce Opening Statement (April 30, 2014)

Committee Passes Bipartisan Mesaures to Reform U.S. International Broadcasting, Address the Conflict in Syria, Improve International Religious Freedom Protections (April 30, 2014)


Hearings on Reforming U.S. International Broadcasting

Broadcasting Board of Governors: An Agency “Defunct” (June 26, 2013)

View Archive Hearing Video:

 


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Calls BBG Defunct

 

 


Broad Support for U.S. International Broadcasting Reform

Wall Street Journal: A New Voice of America (May 6, 2014)

Commentary: Voice of America Needs a Strategy (May 5, 2014)

The Hill: VOA Reform Push Sparks Propaganda Fears (May 4, 2014)

Radio World: House Committee Passes U.S. International Broadcasting Reforms (May 2, 2014)

Digitial Journal: No propaganda, Voice of America need not fear reform bill (May 2, 2014)

Washington Times:Government media board facing inquiry over hiring protocol (May 1,2014)

CQ/Roll Call: Bill Aims to Enhance Voice of America Role in Propaganda Wars (April 29, 2014)

Foreign Policy: Exclusive: New Bill Requires Voice of America to Toe U.S. Line (April 29, 2014)

The Heritage Foundation: Time to Reform U.S. International Broadcasting (April 24, 2014)

Wall Street Journal: The Voice of America Shouldn’t Be a Whisper (April 17, 2014)

Washington Examiner: It’s Time for Congress to hit the ‘reset’ button on public diplomacy (April 13, 2014)


Reports and Fact Sheets

BBG Reform Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Office of Inspector General: Inspection of BBG

GAO Report on BBG: Additional Steps Needed to Address Overlap in International Broadcasting

Office of Inspector General Letter: Management Attention Needed to Improve BBG Aquisition Functions

Considering the “Illogical Patchwork”: The BBG and U.S. International Broadcasting

Understanding the Mission of U.S. International Broadcasting

CRS Report: U.S. Public Diplomacy: Background and Current Issues

Deloitte Report on BBG

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