“VOA is losing a top-notch reporter!!” was one of many similar comments on Robinson’s Facebook page. “Dan, Thanks for telling it like it is. You did some excellent work here at VOA. And I’m sorry to hear that we are losing yet another great journalist,” was another.
In his farewell message posted on his Facebook page, Robinson made a reference to a management crisis at the Voice of America, which combined with a hostile work environment created by senior Voice of America and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives, is believed to be responsible for his departure and departures of other experienced VOA reporters in recent years:
“To those who remain behind, for whatever reasons, in the extremely difficult and so often discouraging atmosphere that now exists at VOA:
Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for colleagues targeted by unfairness and unrealistic demands. Bullies should not be tolerated in any organization, in the private sector or in a government agency.
I (and others) are not persuaded that VOA will be around much longer — or whether it deserves to be given the missteps, miscalculations, and insensitive leadership we have often witnessed.”
In a separate letter to members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), who have an oversight responsibility over the U.S. taxpayer-funded VOA, Robinson said that his decision to leave was influenced by behavior of a hostile senior manager. He and other VOA reporters complained about serious problems with the VOA English news website. Their complaints were ignored, VOA reporters told BBG Watch, and intimidation of critics increased.
“Particularly regarding VOA’s English website face to the world, our reputation was battered by a failure of IBB managers, from director’s level on down, to heed warnings staff made, including in face-to-face meetings in 2011, about serious problems.”
VOA reporters often refer to senior VOA managers as “IBB” even though technically they are not part of the International Broadcasting Bureau. A manager who reportedly threatened Robinson is believed to be a senior VOA executive.
“Indeed, my decision to depart at this juncture was informed by my experience being bullied and threatened with removal by one IBB manager, who perhaps is of the mind that such tactics can be applied across-the-board, whether at major networks or in a government agency.”
Link to Robinson’s Facebook page.
Link to Robinson’s Letter to BBG members.