VOA Fires or Proposes Removal of 15 Hausa Service Employees for ‘Improper Conduct’

BBG Watch Commentary

BBG Watch has been warning about similar potential problems of foreign influence in other Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) services under the lax and dysfunctional management by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) which is now called the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM). BBG / USAGM holdover CEO is John F. Lansing. He has been in his government job since 2015.

The additional irony is that some past and current BBG Board members and a VOA director have had major corporate or family business interests in China or Russia.

USAGM China, Russia and Iran services would be prime targets of influence buying and infiltration. Ironically, VOA Director has punished “VOA Mandarin Five” journalists who had tried to expose China’s vast intelligence activities in the U.S.
 

SEE: Fear of the Chinese Government and Caving in to Its Pressure Continue Among Some at VOA

 

SEE: BBG’s – now USAGM – systemic failure on Iran coverage

 
 
BBG / USAGM are a holy mess. Such scandals happened before. Some World War II Voice of America programmers and managers later worked as anti-American propagandists and diplomats of pro-Soviet communist regimes in East-Central Europe. Radio Free Europe (RFE) also had a few agents working for it for short periods in lower-level jobs during the Cold War. They, however, did not manage to compromise RFE output.

The USAGM agency has also engaged in attempts to stifle U.S. domestic media scrutiny and criticism of its dysfunctional management and poor performance.
 

SEE: USAGM Misappropriated ‘Watch’ Domains to Stifle Criticism by US Media

 
 

END BBG WATCH COMMENTARY
 
 

VOA NEWS REPORT

 

VOA Fires or Proposes Removal of 15 Hausa Service Employees for ‘Improper Conduct’

 
October 04, 2018 12:00 PM

VOA NEWS

Voice of America has terminated or proposed to terminate 15 employees in its Hausa service, following allegations of improper conduct, including the acceptance of improper payments.

VOA Director Amanda Bennett said in an email to staff Thursday that the agency’s leadership was made aware of the allegations “in recent months” and launched several investigations.

“While privacy laws prevent us from disclosing any specifics, it is following the completion of these investigations that these terminations and proposed terminations are occurring,” she wrote.

The VOA Hausa service broadcasts to Nigeria and Niger and extensively covers events in that part of Africa.

Bennett said the improper payments came “from an official in the coverage area.”

“A separate investigation has been launched to determine if any coverage by VOA was improperly influenced,” she said. “If any such influence is discovered, we will deal with it promptly and transparently.”

“What’s more, if any other instances of improper payments are discovered in any service anywhere in VOA, we are committed to investigating them thoroughly and dealing with them promptly as well.”

Bennett said the leadership of VOA’s Africa Division gave total support to the investigations and cooperated in the decision to terminate or propose to terminate the affected employees.

“They, like all of us, are committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior and will not tolerate any infractions,” she said.

She added: “Nothing is more important here at VOA than the trust our audiences place in us. To maintain that trust, nothing is more important than maintaining the highest possible standards of journalistic, professional, legal and moral integrity.”

END OF VOA NEWS REPORT

 

COPY OF E-MAIL FROM VOA DIRECTOR AMANDA BENNETT

From: Amanda Bennett
Sent: Thursday, October 4, 2018 11:44 AM
To: VOA Notices
Subject: TERMINATIONS

Friends –

Nothing is more important here at VOA than the trust our audiences place in us. To maintain that trust, nothing is more important than maintaining the highest possible standards of journalistic, professional, legal and moral integrity.

It is therefore with a very heavy heart that I must tell you that we have terminated or (in accordance with all applicable Federal laws and regulations) proposed to terminate 15 members of the Hausa Service. In recent months, VOA leadership was made aware of allegations of improper conduct by members of the service, which involved accepting improper payments from an official in the coverage area.

With the total support of leadership in the Africa Division, VOA immediately launched several investigations, including requesting a review by the Office of the Inspector General. While privacy laws prevent us from disclosing any specifics, it is following the completion of these investigations that these terminations and proposed terminations are occurring.

A separate investigation has been launched to determine if any coverage by VOA was improperly influenced. If any such influence is discovered, we will deal with it promptly and transparently. What’s more, if any other instances of improper payments are discovered in any service anywhere in VOA, we are committed to investigating them thoroughly and dealing with them promptly as well.

I would, finally, like to commend the leadership of the Africa Division who immediately and wholeheartedly backed the investigations and cooperated fully with these painful decisions. They, like all of us, are committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior and will not tolerate any infractions.

My best,

Amanda

END OF COPY OF E-MAIL FROM VOA DIRECTOR AMANDA BENNETT

 
 

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1 Comment

  1. Newsroom Observer

    Time for another closed event at the National Press Club to explain to supporters exactly what the allegedly wonderful management team at VOA, under Bennett, knew and when it knew it.

Comments are closed.