BBG Watch Commentary
BBG Watch Highlights for May 16, 2014, sent out to subscribers by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), mention both the criticism by Reporters Without Borders of the United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490) as making “U.S. international media a propaganda tool” and a proposal by Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to defund the Voice of America (VOA).
BBG Media Highlights for May 16, 2014 also include a link to Roll Call pointing out that the bill calling for USIM to spend additional $10 million on Ukraine coverage was an unfunded mandate.
There is also a link to Freedom House commenting on separatists disrupting broadcasts of RFE/RL and VOA Ukrainian.
We are wondering how senior VOA executives may be reacting to the mention by the Broadcasting Board of Governors of a congressional proposal to defund the Voice of America (VOA).
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) makes it quite clear that he proposes defunding of the Voice of America because of mismanagement and violations of the VOA Charter.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire urges “the US authorities not to transform media such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Asia into diplomatic communication tools,” but some of the information in the RSF press release about United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4490) is incorrect. The bill actually provides for greater autonomy of RFE/RL and RFA than they have now. U.S. international broadcasters were also required by earlier legislation to produce programming consistent with long-term U.S. foreign policy — as opposed to short-term — and consistent with support of freedom and democracy in general terms.
While major elements of the VOA Charter are included in the bill, some have called for making the VOA Charter a much stronger part of the proposed reform legislation. In addition to mismanagement, violations of the VOA Charter by VOA executives are in fact believed to have prompted the introduction of H.R. 4490.