BBG Watch Commentary

New BBG Chairman Jeff Shell
New BBG Chairman Jeff Shell

At the April 11 meeting of the Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington, DC, BBG Chairman Jeff Shell spoke about threats to journalists working for BBG media outlets abroad and about other threats to media freedom.

Jeff Shell’s comments underscored the dangers to which these journalists are often exposed and the importance of their work in defense of uncensored journalism and media freedom. BBG’s media entities, including Voice of America, Radio and TV Marti, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks are funded by U.S. taxpayers.

Shell described incidents in which VOA journalists in Ukraine were recently threatened by Russian soldiers and unknown attackers.

We applaud Chairman Shell for his comments and his and the BBG Board’s strong support for the work of these brave journalists.

Jeff Shell also commented on the Russian Government’s recent decision to block continued Voice of America broadcasting in Russia.

Also on Friday, the State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki criticized Russia for this move and other restrictions on media freedom. But due to continuing management crisis at the Voice of America, the main VOA English news website and websites of most other VOA language services did not report on the State Department statement. (Last check seven hours after the State Department briefing — VOA English and VOA Ukrainian were not reporting; the only service reporting on the U.S. statement about Voice of America and media restrictions in Russia was VOA Russian. The State Department statement, as well as Chairman Shell’s comments, also pointed out that Russian government-funded media can operate freely in the United States. These remarks should have been of interest to VOA audiences worldwide, many of which experience press censorship.)

Link to Video on YouTube.