The Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) decision to end Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Tibet produced worldwide protests from independent journalists and human rights groups. In response to these protests, the BBG announced at its recent meeting in Miami that it will continue these broadcasts in the next fiscal year but has not yet identified specific funding.
One of the organizations protesting the BBG’s decision to terminate VOA Tibetan radio is the Association of Tibetan Journalists based in Dharamsala, India. These Tibetan journalists working in exile have appealed to the United States Congress “to continue its support for the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service on the grounds of the principles of right to information and freedom of expression.” The appeal was addressed to the House Appropriations Committee.
Open Letter to Members of House Appropriations Committee
25 April 2012
Dear Members of Congress,
This is a letter of appeal requesting your support for the continuation of the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service broadcast inside Tibet in the FY2013 Budget.
We, the Association of Tibetan Journalists (ATJ) based in Dharamsala, India, appreciate all the efforts and support by the US Government towards the Voice of America Tibetan Section since 1991. However with the current spate of Self-Immolations by Tibetans against the repressive Chinese Government policies we believe that this is not the time or the place where free media and right to information for the Tibetans inside Tibet is cut-off on any grounds whatsoever. Not only that, as reported by Reporters without Borders, Tibetan Writers have been arbitrarily arrested and major blogs like sangdhor.com and rangdrol.net have been shut down. Such is the situation inside Tibet.
Especially in Tibetan Autonomous Areas (TAR), with the massive censorship, Voice of America Tibetan Radio service is one of the most important uncensored media, which is available. Dolma, a recent arrival from Lhasa, Tibet states that, “I and many like me used to listen secretly to VOA Tibetan service to get information not only about the International news but also about what is happening in other parts of Tibet. I feel that VOA Tibetan service not only gives me information but I also learned a lot about Tibetan culture and history”.
We on behalf of the voices from inside Tibet would like to urge the US congress to continue its support for the Voice of America Tibetan Radio Service on the grounds of the principles of right to information and freedom of expression.
The ATJ was established in 1997 and is an independent non-profit organization that aims to facilitate the free, fair and accurate delivery of news and information regarding Tibetan communities both inside and outside of Tibet. We have over 30 members in India and Nepal working for media organizations including Voice of America, Radio Free Asia, Voice of Tibet, Tibet Times and Tibet Express.
Ms. Lhakpa Kyizom
President, Association of Tibetan Journalists
Mr. Gurbum Gyal
Vice President, Association of Tibetan Journalists
Signed PDF version can be downloaded here: ATJ-Open-Letter