USAGM Watch Commentary

Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Director of the Policy Planning Staff, wrote in an op-ed article in the New York Post that the Voice of America (VOA) Persian Service in the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) is letting down the Iranian people who need unbiased news.

Now more than ever, the Iranian people need unbiased news. Regrettably, VOA Persian is letting them down. It is failing to effectively communicate US policies to Persian-speaking audiences with the balance and accuracy required in a contested information environment, especially with the regime’s sophisticated disinformation campaigns.

There is also widespread mismanagement at the organization. VOA Persian has failed to create an open and transparent workplace, a problem that has persisted for more than a decade. 

… VOA Persian’s leadership needs to be more responsive and accountable. A start would be for USAGM to have a Senate-confirmed leader in place. Michael Pack was nominated to run the agency in June 2018, but his confirmation has languished needlessly in the Senate. Pack is the former head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and has served on the National Council of the Humanities. He is qualified for the position and should be confirmed by the Senate.

VOA Persian should be driving the news about human rights in Iran, corruption among the Iranian regime and analysis that counters propaganda rather than propagating it. If it can’t meet these standards — and soon — Congress should consider ending its funding and shutting down VOA Persian as a fiduciary duty to American taxpayers.

Why are US taxpayers funding a ‘Voice of the Mullahs’ in Iran? Brian Hook, New York Post, May 27, 2020