BBG Watch Commentary

On Monday, May 1, supporters of press freedom in China and in the United States may have an opportunity to ask Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) CEO John F. Lansing about the recent censorship of a Voice of America Mandarin Service broadcast to China in which an interview with Chinese businessman turned whistleblower Guo Wengui was cut short on orders of VOA executives while he was discussing corruption among Chinese Communist Party officials.

VOA executives, VOA director Amanda Bennett and VOA deputy director Sandy Sugawara who are both Obama administration holdovers as is Mr. Lansing, took this action after the Chinese government protested against Mr. Guo being interviewed by VOA.

VOA executives deny that they caved in to pressure from Beijing and insist that they were only concerned with protecting journalistic standards, but many Chinese were appalled by this action and see it as censorship.

Journalists in the VOA Mandarin Service strongly opposed the management’s decision to cut the interview short and tried everything they could to continue the live conversation with Mr. Guo. They were forced to interrupt the live interview at the beginning of the second hour.

Protest against censorship at Voice of America.

A protest demonstration by Chinese Americans, former Chinese dissidents and Chinese students was held in front of the VOA building in Washington, DC. They called the VOA director’s decision shameful.

To participate in the event at which BBG CEO John Lansing is scheduled to speak, advocates of press freedom need to register following the instructions provided below.


BBG Announcement

Join the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and The George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs for a conversation about the role of US international journalists, defending press freedom, and protecting journalists.

RSVP here


Monday, May 1st, 2017


8:15 AM – 9:00 AM (EDT): registration and networking breakfast

9:00 – 11:00 AM (EDT): program


The George Washington University

Elliott School of International Affairs

City View Room, 7th Floor

1957 E Street, NW

Washington, DC 20052


Frank Sesno, Director, GW’s School of Media & Public Affairs


Ambassador D. Bruce Wharton, Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Department of State

Panelists include:

John F. Lansing, CEO & Director, Broadcasting Board of Governors

Elise Labott, Global Affairs Correspondent, CNN

Michael Oreskes, Senior VP of News and Editorial Director, NPR

David Smith, Washington Correspondent, The Guardian

Maryam Bugaje, Multimedia Broadcaster, Voice of America Hausa Service

Setareh Derakhshesh, Director, Voice of America Persian Service

Mike Eckel, Senior Washington Correspondent, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Bay Fang, Executive Editor, Radio Free Asia

Omar Fekeiki, Managing Editor, “Raise Your Voice” Digital, Middle East Broadcasting Networks

Nada Alwadi, Assignment Editor of Community Managers, “Raise Your Voice” Digital, Middle East Broadcasting Networks

This #BBGWPFD event is free, but registration is required:

Click to RSVP

We hope you can join us.

For questions or further information, contact the BBG’s Office of Public Affairs at

Broadcasting Board of Governors
330 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20237

END OF BBG Announcement