BBG Watch Commentary
The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – cusib.org) Executive Director Ann Noonan spoke at the October 30, 2014 Broadcasting Board of Governors meeting as a member of the public and noted some of the areas of CUSIB’s past and current concerns.
“As Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution began, CUSIB was made aware of satellite TV programming changes made without any advance notice to audiences in China or even VOA China Branch staff, ” Noonan said. “We want to know why VOA Chinese-language broadcasting services have not been expanded and repeat programs not updated with live news as Hong Kong students and democracy seekers continue to press for justice,” she added.
Radio Free Asia (RFA), however, put the satellite TV channel time taken from repeat VOA Chinese programs without live news to good use through the combination of audio reports and live video from Hong Kong, as well as screen shots of Twitter news feeds which are banned by the authorities in China. CUSIB applauded this move by RFA while questioning the VOA management’s handling of the programming schedule change without any advance notice to the Chinese audience. CUSIB also criticized the lack of any significant Voice of America surge programming to China in response to the protests in Hong Kong, the lack of live news updates in repeat VOA Chinese TV programs, and the lack of consultations with VOA China Branch journalists on changes and programming initiatives that could have been made in response to Hong Kong demonstrations.
Noonan also spoke about the situation of the illegally and improperly fired workers and journalists from the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB – Radio and TV Marti). “I have to ask: Why have four months passed without reinstatement or back pay or any remedy for these people,” Noonan said.
Returning to VOA issues, Noonan noted:
ANN NOONAN: “The ongoing gross mismanagement of Voice of America was most recently seen in their call for volunteer journalists to take the experimental Ebola vaccine so they could report about the experience. If this doesn’t show the need for changes in senior management, I don’t know what can.”
CUSIB Executive Director Ann Noonan at October 2014 BBG Meeting – VIDEO – FULL REMARKS